After Uzbek president dies, China's Xi says has lost a good friend

China has lost a "true friend" with the death of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday in a message of condolence to a country Beijing considers an important partner in its war on terror.

Karimov, 78, had served as authoritarian president of ex-Soviet Uzbekistan from the moment it became independent from the Soviet Union. He had been in hospital after suffering a stroke.

He will be buried on Saturday in his home city of Samarkand.