Many Ghanaians, are asking what killed Jerry John Rawlings, who died at the Cardiothoracic Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, yesterday.
Rawlings died at age 73, but his family and the medical team in Korle-Bu, are yet to declare what killed the enigmatic Ghanaian leader.
But while many have said the man, held as the Father of Ghana's 20 plus uninterrupted democracy, died out of heart attack, there are also reports that he might have been killed by the deadly Coronavirus.
Again, while some have reported that he was rushed to the hospital immediately after burying his mother about three weeks ago, others have said that, he was admitted to the nation's premier hospital which he had once described as a "death transit" on Tuesday, but passed on the third day.
But there is yet another claim that, he had responded to treatment significantly and was expected to be discharged from the Medical Ward of the Cardiothoracic Unit.
But whether heart attack or COVID-19, Mr Rawlings, has had some medical challenges with his heart in recent years and reported to be on a cardiac pacemaker, a medical device that generates electrical impulses delivered by electrodes to cause the heart muscle chambers to contract and pump blood.
Joy News' Head of Health Desk, Fred Smith, has confirmed, that the Former President Jerry John Rawlings was diagnosed with COVID-19, before his death on Thursday, November 12.
According to Fred Smith who was reporting from the premises of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital where the former President died, doctors are not able to confirm if the virus was what eventually killed him, even though he had contracted the deadly virus.
But several other media houses have affirmed that JJ Rawlings,indeed, succumbed to the deadly virus.
Meanwhile,Government has declared seven days of national mourning, following the shocking demise of the former President.
According to a statement from the Presidency, flags across the country will also be flown at half-mast. These presidential orders are to take effect from today, Friday, November 13, 2020, to Friday, November 20, 2020.
In a statement, President Akufo-Addo, also said he together with Vice President, have also suspended all political campaigns during the same period.
"I have directed that all national flags should fly at half-mast for the next seven (7) days in all parts of the country, and have declared seven days of national mourning from Friday, 13th November to Friday, 20th November. In honour of the memory of former President Rawlings, the Vice President and I have suspended our political campaigns for same period", the statement announced.
President Akufo-Addo, has expressed his deepest condolences to the bereaved family, assuring them of collaborating with them to have a befitting funeral ceremony for the ex-statesman.
"A great tree has fallen, and Ghana is poorer for this loss. May his soul rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Almighty until the Last Day of the Resurrection when we shall meet again. Amen!" Nana Addo further eulogized.
In the same regard, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, has indefinitely called off his campaign in the Ashanti region after hearing of the demise of the founder of the party.
Mr Mahama, was expected to address other traditional leaders in the region as part of his 6-day tour after he paid a courtesy call on the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II, at his Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
He was also scheduled to interact with religious and opinion leaders, professional groups, artisans, party members, and sympathizers, among other groups of interest.
"He is not an ordinary Ghanaian. He as the first president of the fourth republic. We will be in touch with the family for us to agree on how to proceed. The time for funeral and all those things have to be agreed upon. With that, the state has to pull up all the stops and make sure that he is given a most befitting and dignified exit. I am determined to do that," he said.
"His contribution to this country's history is therefore all to see and at the end, he's had to leave. A grateful nation should its appreciation of him in the manner in which it organizes his send-off," Akufo-Addo added.
Hours after the announcement, his family met President Akufo-Addo, and expressed regret over his death of a man, whom he described as a man with great energy and dynamism.
He said news of President Rawlings' passing, has left him extremely disturbed and saddened.
President Akufo-Addo, was addressing the Rawlings family at the Jubilee House on Thursday after they visited to officially inform him about his death.
The President, said he was yet to fully assimilate the unfortunate information.
"I was given this information this morning when I arrived at the office. I find it hard up to now to really assimilate this information. This is a man with great vitality, dynamism and energy," he said.
"He and I had a tempestuous relationship…I believe that we came to see value in each other by the end. I am extremely disturbed and saddened by his passage," Akufo-Addo added.
Akufo-Addo indicated that the state will collaborate with the family to decide on the date for the funeral and other related arrangements.
He said the state will do all it can to ensure that President Rawlings is given a befitting burial especially because of his contributions to the country's history.
He said one of the major ways the state can express its gratitude to Rawlings is in the way it organizes Rawlings' funeral.
Meanwhile, similar tributes have been pouring in for the late Ghanaian leader who left behind, a wife and four children.
His main political rival and former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, has also joined the world to mourn Mr Rawlings.
In a twit hours after the confirmation of his death, his successor twitted "Rest in peace Jerry John Rawlings".
Others, including the former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Charlotte Osei, Tony Aidoo, Ekow Spio Garbrah, KojoYankah, who all aside Mrs. Osei served in his government in the 90s, have paid glowing tribute to the former President. On separate platforms, Charlotte Osei conveyed her message of condolence.
"It is well" was her brief yet clear message that captures her emotions which is shared by many Ghanaians at this particular time.
Former Communications Minister under the erstwhile John Mahama government, Ekow Spio Garbrah, clad in a black shirt, was spotted coming out from the late Rawling's Ridge house yesterday.
In an attempt by the media to get the NDC stalwart to comment on the sad news, Mr Spio Garbrah declined.
He walked past the media, who tried hard to get to say a word to sit in his car.
Another influential person in the NDC, Dr. Tony Aidoo, has said Mr Rawlings was "very generous, affable and modest" to everyone,
"One of his most attractive attitude was his modesty, was his determination to let the truth stand out," Dr. Aidoo, who served as a Deputy Defense Minister under Rawlings told Accra-based TV3.
A former Minister of State in the Rawlings administration, Professor Kojo Yankah, has eulogized Rawlings.
Prof Yankah, said the former Ghanaian leader was a strong and decisive president who was able to discipline his close associates. He was speaking on the demise of Mr Rawlings in an interview with on TV3.
He said "Rawlings played a great role in consolidating the democracy of Ghana, but I want him to be reminded for the principles of probity and accountability that were introduced in our system when he led the June 4 uprising.
"I think he was a strong leader. People may have their own opinions but that was all part of his style of running affairs. He would not spare the rod, he investigated his own, but he made sure at all times that all his people lived by his principles – honesty, transparency."
"I must say, he did not tolerate corruption, he did tolerate indiscipline, he did not tolerate covering up of issues, he just wanted results and I think those principles should be his legacy."
It will be recalled that, Mr Rawlings recently lost and buried his mother last month. Rawlings was born in Accra on June 22, 1947, to a Ghanaian mother from Dzelukope, near Keta, in the Volta Region, and a Scottish father, whom he met once in his life, while in Ghana working for the UAC, a departmental store.