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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bokassa Dies at 75

BANGUI, Central African Republic () -- Jean-Bedel Bokassa, former self-styled emperor of the Central African Republic, has died at the age of 75, closing a colorful and sometimes grim chapter in the diamond-rich yet impoverished nation's history.

One of Bokassa's sons, Jean Charles, announced the news early Monday. The flamboyant former leader, whose rule was one of cruelty and extravagance punctuated by capricious decisions, died of a heart attack Sunday night in Bangui.

Years after he was ousted in 1979, Bokassa was convicted of conspiracy to murder and embezzlement and sentenced to death, a sentence later commuted. State radio said Bokassa would have a national funeral.