Ghana’s President John Atta Mills died last Tuesday.
The tragedy marked the first time that a sitting president of Ghana has died while serving in office.
The shocking news revealed that the leader was suffering from throat cancer but his illness had remained a secret to the majority of the population.
He reportedly died in a hospital in the capital, Accra.
A statement from the president’s office said the 68-year-old died a few hours after being taken ill.
“It is with a heavy heart… that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana,” the statement said.
President Barack Obama paid tribute to the African leader saying he was a “strong advocate for human rights and for the fair treatment of all Ghanaians,” a White House statement said.
The president and his family visited the West African nation six months after his inauguration and became the third sitting president of the U.S. to visit Ghana.
President Bill Clinton was first to visit in 1998 and President George W. Bush followed during his last year in office.