LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, long plagued by poor health, has died at age 58, almost three months after his vice president assumed control of Africa's most populous nation, Yar'Adua's spokesman said.
Yar'Adua died at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Aso Rock presidential villa with his wife Turai at his side, presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi told The Associated Press, his voice cracking with emotion. Adeniyi did not give a cause of death. A Muslim, Yar'Adua will be buried on Thursday.
Yar'Adua took office in 2007 in a country notorious for corruption and gained accolades for being the first leader to publicly declare his personal assets when taking office — setting up a benchmark for comparison later to see if he misappropriated funds. But enthusiasm for his presidency waned as time passed and he made no headway in fighting entrenched corruption.
He had tried to peacefully end an insurgency in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta that had attacked the petroleum infrastructure, allowing Angola to overtake Nigeria as Africa's no. 1 oil exporter. Those efforts frayed after Yar'Adua became gravely ill.