Former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his lawyer says. Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after the 2011 revolution in Tunisia that began the Arab Spring and later spread to Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria.
Ben Ali led the country for 23 years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.
But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and corruption.
In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests.
At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader's downfall.
Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia when he left the office and was living there when he died on Thursday according to BBC reports.
In 2012, he was sentenced to life in absentia over the killing of protesters in the revolution in 2011.
A separate court also jailed him for 20 years for inciting violence and murder.
Ben Ali's death comes just days after Tunisia held the second free presidential election since he was ousted.
It was brought forward after the death in July of the country's first democratically elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, who took office in 2014.