Vietnam’s president dies

Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang, a former chief of internal security who became one of the most high-profile leaders in the communist-ruled country, died on Friday after an illness, state media said.

Quang, 61, died in a military hospital in Hanoi of a “serious illness despite efforts by domestic and international doctors and professors,” Vietnam Television said.

He had hosted a reception for China’s Supreme Court chief on Wednesday, state-owned newspaper Vietnam News said.

Quang had been ill for months, said former health minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu, who now oversees healthcare for high-ranking officials.

“He began showing symptoms of illness in June last year and has been treated in Japan six times since,” Trieu told Reuters.

“He suffered from a kind of highly virulent virus, for which there has not been any efficient treatment.”

Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by four ‘pillars’: its president, prime minister, the chief of its Communist Party and the national assembly chair.

The president has a more ceremonial role, although he sits on the powerful decision-making politburo.

Before his April 2016 appointment as president, Quang had been minister of public security, heading an organisation with broad powers responsible for intelligence gathering and thwarting domestic and foreign threats to the party.