Uzbek President Karimov has died aged 78


Uzbek President Islam Karimov has died aged 78 after suffering a stroke, three diplomatic sources told Reuters on Friday, leaving no obvious successor to take over the Central Asian nation.
The Uzbek government did not immediately confirm the reports. Earlier on Friday it said the health of Karimov, who has been in hospital since last Saturday, had sharply deteriorated.

Long criticized by the West and human rights groups for his authoritarian style of leadership, Karimov had ruled Uzbekistan since 1989, first as the head of the local Communist Party and then as president of the newly independent republic from 1991.
"Yes, he has died," one of the diplomatic sources said when asked about Karimov's condition.

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