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The 73-year-old died after a short illness, according to Ghanaian media. He served as president of the country for roughly two decades up to 2001.

The former leader who seized power twice via military coups was admitted to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana’s capital, Accra, last week after suffering from a brief illness, state-owned newspaper Daily Graphic reported on its website.

Rawlings was born in Accra in June 1947, to a Ghanaian mother and a Scottish father. 

He came to global prominence in 1979 when, as an army lieutenant, when he ousted General Frederick Akuffo as president.

jsi/msh (Reuters)