By David Muchagoneyi
One of South Africa’s major political figures, King Goodwill Zwelithini has died.
The Zulu monarch, who reigned since 1968, passed away Friday morning in hospital after experiencing diabetes complications.
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Inkhatha Freedom Party founder and traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarch, confirmed the death in a statement issued Friday morning.
“It is with the utmost grief that I inform the nation of the passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, king of the Zulu nation. Tragically, while still in hospital, His Majesty’s health took a turn for the worse and he subsequently passed away in the early hours of this morning.”
Prince Buthelezi said the royal family thanked the nation for “your continued prayers and support in this most difficult time. May His Majesty our King rest in peace”.
King Zwelithini was admitted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital last month after “several unstable glucose readings”.
The monarch reigned over South Africa’s largest ethnic group.