21/08/2012 04:35 BST

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Dies Age 57

Ethiopia's prime minister Meles Zenawi has died of an infection following an unspecified illness aged 57, after 21 years in power.

State run media announced the death of Zenawi on Tuesday, saying he died on Monday evening while recovering from an unspecified illness. It has been reported that he passed away in a hospital outside of the country, but it is not clear where.

He had not been seen in public for several weeks.

"Prime Minister Zenawi suddenly passed away last night. Meles was recovering in a hospital overseas for the past two months but died of a sudden infection at 11.40," the broadcaster said.

meles zenawi

Meles Zenawi has died aged 57

"Even if Ethiopia has been badly affected for missing its great leader, prime minister Meles Zenawi initiated fundamental policies and strategies which will be further strengthened."

Zenawi because president in 1991, and prime minister in 1995.

Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will take over government in the interim.