Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Friday said Uzbek President Islam Karimov had died, according to BBC. "May god's mercy be upon him. As the Turkish Republic, we are sharing the pain and sorrow of [the] Uzbek people," Yildirim said. His announcement came hours after the government of Uzbekistan said its leader was critically ill and that his health had sharply deteriorated in the past 24 hours. However, there was no confirmation from the government of his death. Karimov was hospitalised on August 27.

According to local media reports, there were strong indications that the 78-year-old had died last week. A day after he was taken to a hospital, Karimov's daughter had said he had suffered a brain haemorrhage. On Monday, Russia's Fergana news agency said the president had died, reported The Independent. The authoritarian leader helmed the country since its freedom from the Soviet Union in 1991.