Former Central African Republic President David Dacko died on Thursday in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, where he had been receiving medical treatment, state-owned Radio Centrafrique reported.
Dacko, 73, was flown to Cameroon in early November, after his health deteriorated. He was asthmatic.
Soon after the announcement of his death, Radio Centrafrique suspended all its regular programmes and began playing classical music.
The government has not announced funeral plans and no mourning period has been declared.
President from 1959 to 1965 and from 1979 to 1981, Dacko worked closely with the country's founding father, Barthelemy Boganda, who was also his cousin. His other cousin, Jean Bedel Bokassa, ousted him from power in 1965 and proclaimed himself life president, then later emperor.
Upon assuming power, Bokassa had Dacko imprisoned for years. Dacko was Bokassa’s special adviser when French troops brought him back to power in 1979.
In October, in a speech read out to delegates of the national reconciliation forum, Dacko said he had caught asthma during his years in prison, where he slept naked on the floor.
He also apologised to the nation for political mistakes he might have committed during his rule and reconciled with his longstanding political foe, current Prime Minister Abel Goumba.