Ivory Coast Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko has died, less than a year after being appointed to the position following the death of his predecessor.
Bakayoko succumbed to cancer on Wednesday in Germany, where he was being treated for the disease, President Alassane Ouattara said in a tweet. He was aged 56.
He had been evacuated from Ivory Coast to Paris on Feb. 18, before being moved for further treatment.
“I pay tribute to the prime minister, Hamed Bakayoko, my son and close collaborator, taken too soon,” Ouattara said. “Bakayoko served Ivory Coast with devotion and selflessness.”
The death of Bakayoko, who also served as defense minister, will lead to a cabinet reshuffle in the world’s biggest cocoa-producing nation. He may be succeeded by Patrick Achi, the secretary-general of the ruling party appointed as interim premier on March 8. Bakayoko was also seen as a front-runner to succeed Ouattara when his current term ends in 2025.
Bakayoko, according to Bloomberg, became the second-most power politician in Ivory Coast in July, after then-Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly died. Gon Coulibaly had been the governing party’s presidential candidate in last year’s election, and his death led Ouattara to reverse an earlier decision not to seek a third term as president.
Bakayoko, who drew political support from mainly working-class voters, was also a legislative candidate to represent the diamond-rich Seguela constituency in the country’s north. He won the seat in absentia in elections held on March 6.
He is survived by his wife, Yolande Tanoh, and four children.