DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete declared himself cancer-free on Saturday after undergoing prostate surgery in the United States earlier this month.
Kikwete, 64, has led east Africa's second-biggest economy since 2005 but must step down next year at the end of his second and final term in office.
"I was diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer, which was later down-graded to stage 1 cancer," Kikwete said in a televised address at the airport after returning from the United States. "Doctors said the cancer did not spread to other parts of the body and declared me cancer-free after the surgery."
He said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer more than a year ago and underwent the surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital on Nov. 8.
"I carried this burden for a long time without telling anyone," Kikwete said.
Tanzania plans to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in October 2015, which will be preceded by a referendum on a new constitution in April.
Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by Edith Honan; Ruth Pitchford