New Delhi [India], June 18 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday expressed his condolences over the demise of Zambia's first President Kenneth Kaunda, and called him the champion of African freedom.
"It's sad to hear of the demise of Dr Kenneth David Kaunda. A champion of African freedom, he will continue to be a source of inspiration for generations to come. My condolences to his family, friends and the people of Zambia,' tweeted the Congress leader.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over Kaunda's demise and said he was a respected world leader and statesman.
"Saddened to hear of the demise of Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, a respected world leader and statesman. My deepest condolences to his family and the people of Zambia," PM Modi tweeted.
Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia's founding president and liberation hero, passed away at the age of 97.
Kaunda's death was announced on Thursday evening by Zambian President Edgar Lungu on his Facebook page. Zambia will have 21 days of national mourning, declared Lungu. Kaunda's son, Kamarange, also gave the news of the statesman's death on Facebook.
Kenneth Kaunda passed away at a military hospital in Lusaka where he was being treated for pneumonia, his son Kambarage said.
During his 27-year rule, he gave critical support to armed African nationalist groups that won independence for neighbouring countries including Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.(ANI)