The Nigerian president’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, has died after contracting Covid-19, two presidency spokesmen said on Twitter, as Covid-19 deaths on the continent pass 1,000.
Kyari, who was in his 70s and had underlying health problems, including diabetes, was the top official aide to President Muhammadu Buhari and one of the most powerful men in the country.
“The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari,” said presidency spokesman Garba Shehu in a tweet on Friday, using an honorific title for Kyari.
“The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19, and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020,” he said in a second post on Twitter. Spokesman Femi Adesina also confirmed the death.
Kyari’s was the highest profile death due to the disease in the West African country, which has 493 confirmed cases and 17 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.