Abba Kyari, the chief of staff to the Nigerian president, has died, two presidency spokesmen tweeted on Friday. He was 67.
Kyari reportedly had underlying medical condition including diabetes before contracting coronavirus after official trip to Germany last month.
He was the top official aide to 77-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari and one of the most powerful men in Nigeria.
“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, 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.
Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, passes on. May God rest his soul. Amen. Funeral arrangements to be announced soon.
— Femi Adesina (@FemAdesina) April 17, 2020
Kyari’s death was the highest profile death due to the disease in the West African country, which has 493 confirmed cases and 17 deaths as of April 17, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Kyari acted as the gatekeeper to Buhari. He traveled to Germany in early March with a delegation of other Nigerian officials for meetings with Siemens AG. He attended meetings with senior government officials upon his return to Nigeria.
President Buhari himself has undisclosed medical ailments and spent five months in London for treatments in 2017.