>> The President of Uzbekistan has died according to Reuters sources. No official confirmation yet, but it's thought that Islam Karimov suffered a stroke. State TV had this to say on Friday morning.>>
> Dear compatriots, with a heavy heart we inform you that during the last 24 hours, the condition of our president has worsened sharply.
If his death is confirmed there's no clear plan for a successor. That's a big concern for Central Asia's most populous nation which has become a target for Islamist militants. The transfer of power likely to be decided behind closed doors by a small group including family members. Karimov had ruled Uzbekistan since 1989.
First as boss of the local communist party when the country was still part of the Soviet Union. Later, as first President of the newly independent republic. He was consistently criticized by the west for his authoritarian style of rule. Now the concern is whether a dispute over succession could spark instability and open conflict.