China’s former premier Li Keqiang has died of a heart attack, according to state media reports.
The news came after the 68-year-old ended his last term in office in March.
Li was China’s top economic official for a decade. The Associated Press reported.
He died at 12:10 a.m. Friday while resting in Shanghai, according to China’s state news agency Video surveillance.
Li was known as an economic reformer and champion of the private sector, which brought him into conflict with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
After Xi tightened his control over the Chinese economy, the former prime minister had little power.
After Li’s term ended, Xi remained in office for an unprecedented third term and installed loyalist Li Qiang as the new premier.
The successor later told reporters that his job was to do whatever Xi said.
When Li took office in 2013, many believed he would succeed former Communist Party leader Hu Jintao.
But he was passed over for Xi, who rolled back Hu’s consensus-based leadership style and consolidated his power.
Li was expelled from the party’s Standing Committee in October, two years before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Xi gave himself a third five-year term on the same day.
This was unprecedented as all previous Chinese presidents resigned after a decade.