The wife of Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was killed on Friday in a car crash that also left him injured and in hospital, his party said.
The couple was headed to his hometown in Buhera district where he was to hold a rally on Saturday, but their car was hit by a freight truck and Susan Tsvangirai died at the scene, party officials said.
"The prime minister was travelling to Murambinda (in Buhera) at about 1600 hours when his vehicle was involved in an accident with a haulage truck and the vehicle in which the prime minister was travelling rolled over about three times with its four occupants," Tsvangirai's spokesman James Maridadi said.
He declined to confirm Susan Tsvangirai's death, but another party official said on condition of anonymity that she died at the scene.
"Mrs Tsvangirai died on the spot... but the details are still sketchy," the party official said.
"The driver of the truck appeared to be sleeping. (Tsvangirai) was travelling to his rural home in Buhera where he was due to hold a rally Saturday," an MDC minister told AFP.
Tsvangirai was taken to a private hospital, where he was in stable condition a senior party official said after visiting him.
"He is in a stable condition but on a machine," the official said, but said he did not know what kind of treatment Tsvangirai was receiving.
Another source who had visited him at the hospital said Tsvangirai's head appeared swollen, but doctors had not yet commented on his condition.
Tsvangirai was sworn in three weeks ago as prime minister, joining his long-time rival President Robert Mugabe in a unity government.
Ministers from both Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's ZANU-PF were seen entering the hospital to visit him.
But the crash raised new concerns about the success of the government that has been shaken by the arrest of Roy Bennett, a one-time white farmer who became a top aide to Tsvangirai, and disputes over the appointments of top officials.
Susan Tsvangirai was not active in her husband's party, but before the 2002 presidential elections -- which Tsvangirai controversially lost -- she said she hoped to become a mother for the nation.
"I am excited, but slightly daunted," she told the Sunday Telegraph in 2002. "There is a lot of work to do. I am looking forward to being not only the mother of my own children but the mother of the nation as well."
"Despite all the intimidation and the security, there is no need to live in fear, because we are all going to die one day, violently or otherwise. There is nothing any of us can do about that," she said at the time.
She met her future husband in 1977 when Tsvangirai was working for Trojan Nickel Mine, and they discovered that they shared the same hometown of Buhera.
They eventually had six children, and she tended to prefer her privacy over the political spotlight.
"I will have to get used to it," she says of public life in a 2000 interview with Zimbabwe's Daily News. "How will I avoid it? There will be no place to hide."