AmaZulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu (72) has died, according to a statement released by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Friday.
The king had been in hospital receiving medical care for high glucose levels.
“It is with the utmost grief that I inform the nation of the passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, King of the Zulu Nation,” Buthelezi said.
“Tragically, while still in hospital, His Majesty’s health took a turn for the worse and he subsequently passed away in the early hours of this morning.”
“On behalf of the royal family, we thank the nation for your continued prayers and support in this most difficult time,” the statement read.
In December 1971, just after his 21st birthday, Zwelithini became the eighth king of the Zulu nation, succeeding his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu kaSolomon.