Li Keqiang, the former premier of China, passed away from a heart attack, state media reported.
The 68-year-old’s final term concluded in March, which is when the news was announced.
For ten years, Li was China’s top economic official, according to The Associated Press.
While sleeping in Shanghai, he passed away around 12:10 am on Friday, according to CCTV, the official Chinese news agency.
As a proponent of private enterprise and an economic reformer, Li was in disagreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Upon tightening his grip on the Chinese economy, Xi left the former premier with little authority.
Following the conclusion of Li’s term, Xi continued in office for an unprecedented third term, appointing loyalist Li Qiang as the new premier.
Later, the replacement told reporters it was his responsibility to carry out Xi’s orders.
Many people thought Li would succeed former Communist Party leader Hu Jintao when he started his term in 2013.
However, Xi overshadowed him by consolidating authority and reversing Hu’s leadership style based on consensus.
Two years ahead of the obligatory retirement age of seventy, in October, Li was removed from the party’s Standing Committee.
On the same day, Xi gave himself a third five-year term.
Since all previous Chinese presidents had resigned after ten years, this was unprecedented.