March 10, 2021 UPDATED March 11, 2021

Another one gone too soon, this time to cancer.

Cote d’Ivoire Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko has died from cancer, the government announced in a statement on Wednesday. He was 56 years old.

Premier Bakayoko, who was appointed Prime Minister, Head of government, and Minister of Defense last July, started undergoing cancer treatments on February 18 in France before being transferred to a hospital in Germany where he succumbed to the malignant disease.

President Alassane Ouattara, who during a brief official trip to France earlier this month visited Bakayoko at the hospital in Paris, mourns the death.

“I pay tribute to the Prime Minister, Hamed Bakayoko, my son and close collaborator, too soon torn from our affection,” President Alassane Ouattara said in a statement. “Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko served Côte d’Ivoire with dedication and self-sacrifice. He was a great statesman, a model for our youth, a personality of great generosity and exemplary loyalty. On behalf of the Government and on my own behalf, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to his wife, his children, the great Bakayoko family, all the allied families and all Ivorians. That his soul rests in peace”

According to statements from the government, during his years serving in the government, Premier Bakayoko wore many hats, most notably as political facilitator and social liaison between the government and the civil society, encouraging peaceful dialogues and reconciliation among various Ivorian religious, political and social communities and leaders.

He was instrumental in the re-election of President Ouattara in 2020, getting the incumbent candidate’s message to the public regarding the government’s commitment to always keep the dialogue doors open to the public to promote social cohesion, a prerequisite for any development.

Bakayoko also championed investment in human capital , prioritizing youth empowerment, skill training and socio-professional integration of young Ivorians as a major driver of economic growth for the country. He encouraged young Ivorians to take an active role in the development of the country by being concerned with acquiring a good training in order to be well equipped to build a future

Under his leadership, the government carried out a major mobilization of resources in November 2020 and February 2021 on international markets, to support the financing of the country’s development.

Bakayoko left behind a wife and four children.