New Delhi [India], June 18 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed grief over the demise of Zambia's first President Kenneth Kaunda and said he was a respected world leader and statesman.
"Saddened to hear of the demise of Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, a respected world leader and statesman. My deepest condolences to his family and the people of Zambia," PM Modi tweeted.
Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's founding president and liberation hero, passed away at the age of 97.
Kaunda's death was announced on Thursday evening by Zambian President Edgar Lungu on his Facebook page. Zambia will have 21 days of national mourning, declared Lungu.
"On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf, I pray that the entire Kaunda family is comforted as we mourn our First President and true African icon," wrote Lungu.
Kaunda's son, Kamarange, also gave the news of the statesman's death on Facebook.
Kenneth Kaunda passed away at a military hospital in Lusaka where he was being treated for pneumonia, his son Kambarage said.
During his 27-year rule, he gave critical support to armed African nationalist groups that won independence for neighbouring countries including Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.(ANI)