The last king of Rwanda, Kigeli V, died early Sunday, his official website said. He was 80. Born Jean-Baptiste Ndahindurwa in Kamembe, the monarch went into exile in 1960 after clashing with the Belgian colonial power. In 1961, the monarchy was abolished.
Kigeli V lived in exile in several African countries before settling in the suburbs of Washington in 1992. While in the United States, he led the King Kigeli V Foundation to aid Rwandan refugees. Details of his death were not immediately known, reports BSS.
King Kigeli was 23 when he came to power in 1959
A 2013 profile of the ex-monarch in Washingtonian magazine, found him living in subsidized housing, on food stamps and donations, in Oakton, Virginia, happy to hand out chocolates to neighbors’ children.
“They call me the King of Africa,” Kigeli said of the neighbors, in that report. “Ah, it’s good.”
For decades he spoke of returning to his east African homeland — a tiny, landlocked country that ranks among the world’s poorest nations — but as monarch.