BEIJING, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Hua Guofeng, an early and major leader of the Communist Party of China, has died at the age of 87.
Hua "died of illness at 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday in Beijing," said an official statement reported by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Hua once served as the Chinese premier and chairman of the Communist Party of China Central Committee during his long political career. He was born in 1921 and was part of the party's buildup during World War II and after.
Hua was "an outstanding CPC member, a long-tested and loyal Communist fighter and a proletarian revolutionary who once held important leading posts in the CPC and the government," the official statement said.