Photo of late Guinea Bissau's President Malam Bacai Sanha
Malam Bacai Sanha died in a Paris hospital on January 09.

Guinea Bissau's President Malam Bacai Sanha has died in Paris following a lengthy hospitalisation.

No immediate cause was advanced for the 64-year-old's death who came to power two years ago, following the assassination of previous leader Joao Bernardo "Nino" Vieira.

Sanha suffered health problems throughout his time in office, undergoing medical treatment both in France and Senegal.

"With pain and sadness, the president's office reports to the people of Guinea Bissau and to the international community the death of His Excellency the President, Malam Bacai Sanha, this morning, January 9, at Val de Grace hospital where he was being treated," a statement said.

Raimundo Pereira, the head of the National Assembly is now expected to lead the country until new elections take place.

Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974, the tiny West Africa country has been prone to instability due to a series of coup.

The army announced it had foiled an attempt by senior officials to seize power while Sanha was in hospital, two weeks ago.

In recent years the country has also become a hub for drug trafficking, increasing fears of instability.