Polisario leader Mohammed Abdelaziz died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, according to the official agency of the separatist movement.


According to the same source, the Polisario Front has declared a mourning for 40 days.


Abdelaziz, known in Morocco as El Marrakechi, was born in Marrakech in 1947. He studied in University Mohammed V in Rabat before joining the nascent Polisario Front upon its founding in May 1973.


Following the death of El Ouali Mustapha Sayed, founder of the Polisario, in 1976, Abdelaziz took the helm of the separatist movement. He hold this position for four decades until his death.


Last December he was re-elected Secretary General of the Polisario for the 12th time.