Johannesburg, Ghana, W. Africa - Ghanaian President John Atta Mills died suddenly Tuesday shortly after becoming ill, according to a statement by his office.
"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. No details of his illness were given. Mills was 68.
Mills, who died in a hospital in the capital Accra, had undergone health checks in the U.S.in recent weeks, returning late last month. According to reports from Ghana, he complained of pains Monday and died Tuesday.
Mills was set to run for a second term as president in elections due in December. Under Ghana's constitution, vice president John Dramani Mahama is to take over as interim leader.
Ghana is seen as a beacon of democracy in West Africa. President Obama visited in 2009, six months after Mills took office in peaceful elections.