A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable says Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has prostate cancer and his doctor advised him in 2008 that he could die in three to five years.
The June 2008 cable quoted central bank governor Gideon Gono, an ally of Mugabe, telling a U.S. diplomat that Mugabe's cancer had "metastasized” and would “cause his death in three to five years," the Financial Times reports. It also says doctors told Mugabe he should restrict his activities.
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The cable was written by the U.S. diplomat who had the conversation with Gono, James D. McGee, a former U.S. ambassador to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, who has been the president of Zimbabwe since 1980, called the news “naked lies." Gono similarly called the cable "fiction," BBC News reports.
There have been rumors that Mugabe was dying of cancer, but he has repeatedly dismissed them.
The famous whistle-blower site Wikileaks published the cable.
Mugabe entered into a power-sharing government with former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008. Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has called for early elections, but Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has insisted reforms should be implemented before new elections are held.