Speaking in the city during a prayer service for the deceased and viewing his body — first of three days designated for residents of Dar es Salaam—family spokesman William Erio said Mkapa first felt unwell on Wednesday.
He said that the retired president then went to hospital for a check-up and tests carried out showed that he had a bout of malaria.
After the malaria results came out, Erio said Mkapa was admitted to that facility in the city and was responding well to treatment. On the fateful Thursday, the former president spent the better part of the day watching proceedings of the CCM nomination primaries for the women’s wing that were being broadcast live.
“It was after watching evening news that he attempted to stand up but he collapsed. Doctors were called in and he was pronounced dead and tests later confirmed that the cause of his death was cardiac arrest,” he said.
Erio appealed to members of the public to ignore speculations about the cause of Mkapa’s death that were doing the rounds in social media, saying there was no iota of truth in the rumours.
“I call upon Tanzanians to emulate the late Mkapa by accepting that it is cardiac arrest that caused his death,” he urged.
President John Magufuli announced to the nation in a brief televised appearance past midnight on Friday that the third phase leader had succumbed to an illness while undergoing treatment in the city.
Mkapa who took over the leadership of the country after the first multiparty election in 1995 is credited with implementation of economic reforms that kick-started steady growth after decades of socialism from 1960s to 1980 and biting effects of structural adjustment programmes in the late 80s and early 90s.
He has also been hailed for playing a key role in reconciliation efforts in Africa, cutting out the figure of a towering diplomat of international standing.
The body of he departed leader was being viewed at the Uhuru Stadium for three days (from yesterday to Tuesday) to allow residents of Dar es Salaam and neighbouring regions to pay their last respects to the departed statesman.
A timetable unveiled by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Friday indicated that the stadium will be open from 9 a.m. until midday for public viewing.
Early on Wednesday, the body will be flown to his home village of Lupaso in Masasi district, Mtwara region for burial on the same day.