King Leka I Zogu, the self-proclaimed heir to the Albanian throne, has died at the age of 72, a spokeswoman for the royal family said today. Julinda Kamberi said “King Leka I” died of heart and lung problems at Tirana’s “Mother Teresa” Hospital.
The First King Zog Of Albania Leka.
(Photo by Christian RAUSCH
/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Leka was hospitalized for several days at the Tirana Hospital. Zogu was sent to hospital in serious life conditions, but he was then improved. He had been suffering from breathing problems and anorexia.
Due to the health conditions, Leka had avoided public appearances for a long time. His son, Prince Leka, has represented him in several activities. Two days ago, Dr. Mentor Petrela announced that the patient was in serious conditions, especially after the cardiac arrest that he suffered last week.
King Leka I was the only son of the late King Ahmet Zogu who declared himself King of Albania in 1928 and ruled until the Italian army invaded Albania in 1939, forcing the family to flee the country two days after King Leka I was born.
Albania’s communist rulers abolished the monarchy in 1946. King Leka I returned to Albania in 2002, following the collapse of the communist rule. He is survived by his son, Leka II. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made public.