BEIJING- Former Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, 68, died early on Friday after suffering a sudden heart attack in Shanghai, state news agency reported.
The former premier suffered a heart attack late on Thursday and died at 12:10 am on Friday (16:10 GMT Thursday) after attempts to resuscitate him failed.
Li had stepped down as premier in March after 10 years in office under Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Li was born on July 1, 1955 in Dingyuan, in the eastern province of Anhui, the son of a functionary.
In 1974, during the Cultural Revolution, he was forced to go to the countryside like other intellectuals.
As one of only three per cent of all applicants who managed to gain admission, he studied law at Peking University and earned a doctorate in economics.
Xi and Li were the favourites to succeed then-president and Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao, but Xi prevailed and Li, considered a Hu protégé, had to settle for the post of prime minister.
Li was effectively sidelined by Xi, and eventually replaced by Li Qiang in March.
There had been rumours about Li’s health for years.
During his visits abroad, long rest breaks always had to be built into his schedule, diplomats reported in confidential conversations. (dpa/NAN)