Evidence is mounting that one of Asia’s most authoritarian leaders, Uzbek President Islam Karimov, has died of an illness after 27 years in power.
Mr Karimov, 78, was taken to hospital last week after a brain haemorrhage but the government has only said that he is critically ill.
On Friday, the Turkish prime minister and international news agencies reported his death as fact.
Uzbek state TV channels have dropped light entertainment programmes.
Mr Karimov, who has not appeared in public since 17 August, has no clear successor. There is no legal political opposition and the media are tightly controlled by the state.
A UN report has described the use of torture as “systematic”. Mr Karimov often justified his strong-arm tactics by highlighting the danger from Islamist militancy in the mainly Muslim country, which borders Afghanistan.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told a televised meeting of his cabinet that Mr Karimov had died, saying Turkey shared “the pain and sorrow of Uzbek people”.
The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, also expressed condolences in a statement on the presidential website.
“I’d like to express my condolences from me personally and on behalf of the Georgian people to the president’s family and Uzbek people,” he added.