TUNIS — Former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, an autocrat who led his country for 23 years before being toppled by bloody protests that unleashed a wave of revolt across the Arab world, died Thursday at age 83, according to his lawyer.
Ben Ali, was lived in exile in Saudi Arabia, died in Jeddah and his body is to be transferred to Mecca, awaiting the family's decision on a burial, lawyer Mounir Ben Salha told the Associated Press.
Ben Ali was being treated for prostate cancer and had been hospitalised last week.
His ouster as Tunisia's president in 2011 unleashed what became known as the Arab Spring, a movement that saw many autocratic leaders swept from power.
Convicted repeatedly of corruption after he fled to Saudi Arabia, Ben Ali was widely detested after Tunisia's jasmine revolution, but some supporters started calling for his return as economic and security troubles plagued the country's new democracy.