Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, will die on Dec. 19 and it is not clear whether he will remain leader of China after his passing.
He will be 93, according to his spokesman.
His successor will become China’s next leader.
Xi is the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world, but the transition to a new leader could be chaotic.
He could not attend the annual meeting of China’s parliament on Monday, and he was in the middle of a five-day state visit to the United States.
China’s ruling Communist Party is expected to nominate a successor to take over from Xi by the end of the year.
He was elected president in 2013.
The United States has been closely watching China’s leadership transition.
It will hold a “handshake” with China from the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday to formally begin the transition.
The Trump administration has called on the Chinese to do more to ease economic restrictions on the country.