Former Peruvian President Alan García has died after shooting himself as police arrived at his home to arrest him over bribery allegations.

Mr García was rushed to hospital in the capital, Lima. His death was confirmed by current President Martín Vizcarra.

A crowd of supporters gathered outside the hospital and were held back by a line of police.

Mr García was accused of taking bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht – claims he denied.

Officers had been sent to arrest him in connection with the allegations.

Interior Minister Carlos Morán told reporters that when police arrived, Mr García asked to make a phone call and went into a room and closed the door.

Minutes later, a shot rang out, Mr Morán said. Police forced the door open and found Mr García with a bullet wound. The former president underwent emergency surgery in the Casimiro Ulloa hospital in Lima.

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Health Minister Zulema Tomás said Mr García had to be resuscitated three times after suffering cardiac arrests before finally succumbing to his injuries.

Investigators say Mr García took bribes from Odebrecht during his second term in office, linked to a metro line building project in the capital.

Odebrecht has admitted paying almost $US30m in bribes in Peru since 2004.

But Mr García maintained he was the victim of political persecution, writing in a tweet on Tuesday that there was “no clue or evidence” against him.

In November last year he unsuccessfully applied for political asylum in Uruguay.

Alan García – ‘Latin America’s Kennedy’

  • Born on 23 May 1949 in Lima
  • Studied law and sociology
  • Elected to Peru’s Chamber of Deputies for the Aprista Party of Peru (APRA)
  • Became Peru’s youngest ever president in 1985 at the age of 36
  • A gifted orator, he was described by some as “Latin America’s Kennedy”
  • Served two terms as president, first from 1986-1990, then from 2006-2011
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– BBC