Former Prime Minister of Suriname, Wim Udenhout , has died.

His family confirmed his passing, saying he died at the Paramaribo Academic Hospital on Monday night.

He was 85 years old.

Udenhout served as prime minister from February 1984 to July 1986, during the transitional period from the military dictatorship to an elected government.

Although on paper he was the head of the government and the Council of Ministers, the actual political power was in the hands of then army commander Desi Bouterse, who came to power in a coup d’état on February 25, 1980.

During his term in office, the media were allowed to operate freely, after being banned following the December 8, 1982, murders, in which five media workers were among the 15 people killed.

Udenhout , who held a doctorate in English Literature from Leiden University, emigrated to the Netherlands in 1975, but returned to Paramaribo to become a teacher and head of the English section at the Institute for the Training of Teachers.

From 1989 to 1997, Udenhout was Suriname’s ambassador to the United States and permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).