Aspiring Albanian King Dies at 72

Posted November 30th, 2011 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The son of former Albanian King Ahmet Zog, Leka Zogu, has died of a heart attack. He was 72 years old.

The aspiring king, who twice failed in attempts to restore the monarchy after communism fell in the early 1990's, died Wednesday in a Tirana hospital. He spent most of his life in exile in Europe and Africa.

Zogu was born in 1939, just two days before his father, King Zog, fled Albania following the country's occupation by the Italian military. Zog had ruled the small Balkan country from 1928 to 1939, and died in exile in France in 1961.

After the fall of the communist government, Leka Zogu attempted to return to Albania in 1993 but was denied entry by the country's first democratically elected government. He tried again in 1997, this time winning the right to hold a referendum on restoring the monarchy. But he lost the referendum and charged the electoral committee with fraud, appearing at a protest rally in a military uniform with guns and hand grenades.

Zogu returned to Albania in 2002, after reaching an agreement with the government. He is survived by his son, also named Leka, who works in the Albanian Foreign Ministry.