Georgia prime minister found dead
Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania has been found
dead in an apartment in Tbilisi, apparently poisoned
by gas from a faulty heater.
Officials say security guards found Mr Zhvania's body
after breaking into a flat owned by his friends
several hours after he arrived there.
Mr Zhvania, 41, was once an ally of former President
But he turned against him and played a prominent role
in the 2003 Rose Revolution that ousted Mr
Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili said Mr Zhvania
had arrived at the flat at about midnight local time
on Wednesday (2100 GMT).
Security guards became suspicious after the prime
minister failed to answer his phone for several hours.
Georgia will stand firm, and I hope I will stand firm
because it is firmness that we need the most at
They broke in around 0400 to find Mr Zhvania dead in
The body of his friend and the owner of the flat,
named as Kremo-Kartli region deputy governor Raul
Usupov, was found in the kitchen.
No foul play was suspected, Mr Merabishvili said, but
the body had been taken to the coroner's office for
David Morchiladze, the general director of Tbilgaz -
the company supplying gas to Tbilisi - said there was
an Iranian-made heater installed in the flat which
broke safety regulations.
"Carbon monoxide was bound to be collected in the
flat," he said. His deputy added that the flat, which
Mr Usupov had moved into only a few weeks ago, had no
vent for the gas.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili held an
emergency government meeting which was shown live on
"Georgia has lost a great patriot whose entire life
was devoted to tireless and selfless service to our
country. I have lost my closest friend, most trusted
adviser and greatest ally," Mr Saakashvili said,
addressing his ministers.
"I hope you will stand firm, Georgia will stand firm,
and I hope I will stand firm because it is firmness
that we need the most at present."
Mr Saakashvili said that his thoughts were with
"Zurab's wife Nino, his mother Rema and his three most
Another Rose Revolution leader, parliamentary speaker
Nino Burjanadze, cut short her visit to Italy and is
returning to Georgia.