Chinese Vice Premier Huang Ju (
Xinhua did not disclose the cause of death, though Huang had reportedly been ill with pancreatic cancer for two years.
Xinhua said the Chinese leadership in its official obituary of Huang called him "a long-tested and faithful communist fighter" -- a traditional description for a leader who dies in good standing.
Huang ranked No. 6 in the CCP's hierarchy. His death creates a vacancy in the Politburo and gives President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) an opportunity to increase his hold on power by filling it with a supporter.
Analysts said Huang's death would likely have little effect on the CCP's power structure or on policy-making.
"His death won't have any influence on the trend in China's politics, because he intended to step down after the 17th party congress," said Hu Xingdou, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology. "In fact, he had actually stopped working a long time ago, and [Vice Premier] Wu Yi (