Uzbekistan President, Islam Karimov has died at the age of 78 from a stroke. The country’s government and parliament confirmed the death on Friday, September 2.
Karimov’s funeral will be taking place on Saturday, September 3 at his hometown, Samarkand. His potential successor, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, will be overseeing the funeral.
Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim was the first foreign leader to issue condolences over Karimov’s death. Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his condolences, describing the late leader as a statesman “who had contributed to the security and stability of Central Asia”.
Karimov was the first, and so far the only, president of Uzbekistan. Having ruled the country for 27 years, Karimov had long been criticized by the West and various organizations for human rights abuses, with the United Nation describing the use of torture under his leadership as “systematic”.
Karimov had not named any potential successor during his presidency, and analysts believe his replacement will be chosen privately behind the doors with family members and senior political figures.
Bordering Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia with over 30 million people.