He was aged 77.
Known as “King Cobra” for his venomous tongue, Sata was elected Zambia’s president in September 2011.
However, the last two years have been marred by reports that he was ailing and unable to serve Presidential Capacity. He was also pronounced dead several times.
Michael Sata made a rare public appearance last month to tell parliament: “I am not dead.”
But he had not been seen in public since returning from the UN General Assembly where he failed to make a scheduled speech in September.
Defence Minister Edgar Lungu has been acting as president and is expected to remain in charge in the interim.