Former Peruvian President Alan García has died after shooting himself as police arrived at his home to arrest him over bribery allegations.
Mr García was rushed to hospital in the capital, Lima. His death was confirmed by current President Martín Vizcarra.
A crowd of supporters gathered outside the hospital and were held back by a line of police.
Mr García was accused of taking bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht – claims he denied.
Officers had been sent to arrest him in connection with the allegations.
Interior Minister Carlos Morán told reporters that when police arrived, Mr García asked to make a phone call and went into a room and closed the door.
Minutes later, a shot rang out, Mr Morán said. Police forced the door open and found Mr García sitting on a chair with a bullet wound to his head.
Mr García underwent emergency surgery in the Casimiro Ulloa hospital in Lima, but to no avail.
In a post on Twitter, Mr Vizcarra said he was “shocked” by the former president’s death and sent his condolences to his family.
Mr García served as president from 1985 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2011.
Investigators say he took bribes from Odebrecht during his second term in office, linked to a metro line building project in the capital.
Odebrecht has admitted paying almost $30m (£23m) in bribes in Peru since 2004.
But Mr García maintained he was the victim of political persecution, writing in a tweet on Tuesday that there was “no clue or evidence” against him.
Alan García – ‘Latin America’s Kennedy’
- Born on 23 May 1949 in Lima
- Studied law and sociology
- Elected to Peru’s Chamber of Deputies for the Aprista Party of Peru (APRA)
- Became Peru’s youngest ever president in 1985 at the age of 36
- A gifted orator, he was described by some as “Latin America’s Kennedy”
- Served two terms as president, first from 1986-1990, then from 2006-2011
- Investigated for alleged corruption as part of the Odebrecht scandal
Source: BBC Monitoring
What is the Odebrecht scandal?
Odebrecht is a Brazilian construction giant behind major infrastructure projects around the world, including venues for the 2016 Olympics and 2014 World Cup in its home country.
But under the glare of anti-corruption investigators the company admitted paying bribes in more than half of the countries in Latin America, as well as in Angola and Mozambique in Africa.
Investigators say Odebrecht bribed officials or electoral candidates in exchange for lucrative building contracts.
The corruption scandal has brought down politicians throughout Latin America.
How is Peru affected?
Four of Peru’s most recent presidents are all being investigated for alleged corruption, with a fifth – Alberto Fujimori – serving a prison sentence for corruption and human rights abuses.
Ex-leader Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was taken to hospital with high blood pressure on Wednesday just days after his own arrest in connection with Odebrecht charges. Reports said he was in intensive care.
The current leader of the opposition, Keiko Fujimori, is also in pre-trial detention on charges of taking $1.2m (£940,000) in bribes from Odebrecht.
In October, an opinion poll by Datum showed 94% of Peruvians believed the level of corruption in their country was either high or very high.
Alan García: Peru’s former president kills himself ahead of arrest