08/21/2012 01:30 EDT | Updated 10/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, dies at age 57, state TV says

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Ethiopia's state television says Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the East African nation's longtime ruler, has died. He was 57.

Authorities did not immediately announce the cause of Meles' death, but the prime minister hadn't been seen in public in Ethiopia in several weeks.

State TV announced the death on Tuesday.

It said Meles died just before midnight on Monday after contracting an infection.

The most recent images of Meles aired by state-run Ethiopian Television showed him noticeably thinner.

State TV said the country's Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was put in charge of the cabinet.