ABUJA (AFP) – Nigeria president Umaru Yar'Adua has died, an official at his office confirmed late Wednesday.
"It is true that the president is dead," an official at the office said.
Yar'Adua died between 9:30 and 10:30 pm (2030 and 2130 GMT) Wednesday, according to a report on the website of Nigerian newspaper This Day.
The president fell ill last November and flew to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for treatment for a heart condition.
But it was only in February that he relinquished power to his deputy Goodluck Jonathan, after three months out of the country and growing concern at what many politicians and commentators saw as a power vacuum at the top.
Since his return to Nigeria in February, Yar'Adua, 58, had not been seen in public, nor was any information released as to the state of his health.
Christian and Muslim leaders who visited the ailing president in April would give no details of his condition.
But there was constant tension between his supporters and those of Acting President Jonathan.
On March 17, Jonathan sacked the entire Yar'Adua-formed cabinet, and on Tuesday swore in his own team with less than half of its members drawn from the old government.
The acting president has already promised to step down in May 2011, at what would have been the end of Yar'Adua's tenure, and ensure free and fair elections.
Previous polls have been judged largely flawed by local and international observers, including the United Nations and the United States.
Yar'Adua's death comes at a difficult time for Africa's most populous nation: Muslim-Christian violence erupted in the north of the country earlier this year, and there has been renewed unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta.