Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika reportedly suffered a heart attack on Thursday morning. Conflicting reports have since emerged over whether Mutharika has died and whether he has left the country for medical treatment.
The most recent update from BBC Africa on its Facebook page said Mutharika "took ill this morning and is awaiting a flight out of the country to South African [sic] for further treatment."
National Geographic's Andrew Evans reported from Lilongwe, outside the hospital where the President is allegedly being treated.
Reuters Africa, meanwhile, reported that the president is in critical condition and being flown to South Africa for treatment.
Whether or not wa Mutharika is dead, Malawi is "braced for violence" in the chaos following his hospitalization, according to The Guardian.
"We have never been prepared for such an eventuality. He suffered a cardiac arrest and the condition is still unstable," a hospital staff member told Reuters.
BBC Africa originally reported that wa Mutharika was being airlifted for treatment, but later quoted Vice President Joyce Banda stating that wa Mutharika is still alive and in Malawi:
The Guardian reports that Bingu wa Mutharika is in "very critical" condition after suffering a heart attack. The 78-year-old was taken to a Lilonge hospital on Thursday morning, according to the Associated Press.
Mutharika is a former World Bank official once heralded for his stewardship of a southern African country that is among the world's poorest. In recent years, he has been accused of trampling on democratic rights.
Mutharika first came to power in a 2004 election, and was overwhelmingly re-elected five years later. Elections are not due again in Malawi until 2014.