began president of Gabon in 1965 as Presidential Representative. He was formally placed into the position in August 1966. Prior to that he had been the Minister of Information and Tourism.
was at a Spanish clinic in Barcelona. Official word is that he was at the clinic for a check up but there are several sources according to AFP
that the president was being treated for cancer.
"He was a great figure of Africa," a "man who had influence," said French Defence Minister Herve Morin when informed of the report by French television.
His wife, Edith Lucie Bongo Odimba, daughter of Congo President Nguesso, died at the age of 45 this past March.