Myanmar Prime Minister Gen. Soe Win died in a military hospital after a long illness, state media announced. He was 59.
Soe Win, a reputedly ruthless member of the ruling military junta, had been blamed with overseeing a 2003 attack against democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
The fourth-ranking member of the junta, he had been ailing for months with what relatives said was acute leukemia. He returned Sept. 30 from extended hospitalization in Singapore and had been warded at Mingaladon Military Hospital on the outskirts of northern Yangon, relatives said.
Soe Win's death on Friday came as the junta continued its crackdown on democracy advocates that followed more than a month of street protests in the tightly controlled country.
His departure was unlikely to cause a ripple in the regime's grip on power. Soe Win had little if any policy-making role as prime minister and was largely considered a figurehead for the junta.