(CNN)Zimbabwe's foreign minister, Sibusiso Moyo, has died at a local hospital after catching Covid, said government spokesman George Charamba, on Wednesday.
Moyo was the army officer who went on state television on November 15, 2017 to announce the military's takeover of power from former late president Robert Mugabe.
"The Nation will be kept apprised of further developments regarding this untimely demise of the late Minister, himself a decorated soldier and freedom fighter," said Charamba in a statement. President Emmerson Mnangagwa paid tribute to Moyo, saying Zimbabwe had lost "a devoted public servant and a true hero."
"I have lost a friend. He fought his entire life so that Zimbabwe could be free," he said in a tweet.
The Foreign Ministry said he was "a man who fought tirelessly for a better Zimbabwe."
"His humour, good grace and devotion to public service will be greatly missed by everyone here at the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade," it said in a tweet.
There has been a spike in Covid-19 infections in Zimbabwe. Since Christmas Day, Zimbabwe has recorded over half its 28,675 total cases and 825 total deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University.
The Zimbabwean Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has said the country's hospitals are unable to deal with an increased demand for admissions.
"ZADHR notes with concern the limited capacity of local health facilities to accommodate cases that need treatment. The continued surge in new infections has caused the hospitals to be overwhelmed and fail to cater for the increased number of COVID-19 related hospital admissions," the body said.
The organization also reported that nearly 1000 frontline workers have been infected by Covid-19 in Zimbabwe due to lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).