Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin died on Wednesday at the age of 96 from leukaemia and multiple organ failure, Chinese state media reported.
Jiang died at 12:13 local time (0413 GMT) in his hometown of Shanghai, according to the official Xinhua news agency, which published a letter addressed to the citizens of the ruling Communist Party of China, the Chinese parliament, the cabinet and the army, in which he was informed of the death.
“The death of Comrade Jiang Zemin is an incalculable loss for our Party and our military, as well as for all ethnic groups of our people,” said the letter, which said it was made with “deep sorrow.”
The letter described “our dear comrade Jiang Zemin” as an exceptional leader of great prestige, a great Marxist, statesman, military strategist and diplomat, as well as a veteran fighter for the communist cause.
Jiang emerged from anonymity to rise to the head of the Communist Party of China after the bloody suppression of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests of 1989, bringing the country out of its consequent diplomatic isolation, smoothing out his country’s differences with the United States and managing unprecedented economic growth.