Former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe died on Friday after being shot at a campaign event, in an attack that shocked a country where gun violence is virtually nonexistent.

Abe, 67, was a towering political presence even after he stepped down as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. He had just begun a speech in the western city of Nara when gunfire was heard around 11:30 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. Thursday ET).

Officials said that one person had been apprehended in relation to the shooting.

Abe was rushed to Nara Medical University Hospital after suffering cardio and pulmonary arrest. The hospital announced his death shortly after 5 a.m. ET.

For more on this story, go to NBC News.



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