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Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang dead at 61

The government said he died Friday of a serious illness but did not elaborate.
Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang attends a news conference in Hanoi
Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang died Friday of an illness at age 61. Here he's pictured last year in Hanoi, Vietnam.Nguyen Huy Kham / Reuters

HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, the country's second in command after the Communist party's leader, died Friday of a serious illness, the government said. He was 61.

The website statement said Quang passed away despite "utmost efforts to treat him by Vietnamese and foreign professors and doctors and care by the Party and State leaders." It said he died at the 108 Military Hospital in Hanoi but did not elaborate on his illness.

Quang hosted President Donald Trump during his first state visit to the communist country last year where Trump attended a summit of Pacific Rim leaders.

His last public appearance was at a Politburo meeting of the ruling Communist Party and a reception for a Chinese delegation on Wednesday. He looked frail on the state-run Vietnam Television broadcast.

Image: Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang and U.S. President Donald Trump address a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi
Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang, who died Friday, and U.S. President Donald Trump at a news conference last November at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam.JONATHAN ERNST / Reuters

Quang did not appear in public for more than a month last year, raising speculation about his health.

Born in northern Ninh Binh province, Quang attended a police college and rose through the ranks at various positions at the Ministry of Public Security before being appointed minister in 2011.

A career security officer and four-star general, Quang was elected president in April 2016 by the Communist-dominated National Assembly, effectively becoming the second most powerful man in the country after General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

The National Assembly is scheduled to convene a session next month and expected to elect a new president.