Russian news agencies say Gennady Yanayev, who briefly declared himself acting president of the Soviet Union during an unsuccessful 1991 coup attempt, has died in Moscow.
Yanayev, 72, had been suffering from a "serious and long-lasting illness," Interfax quoted a medical source as saying.
Yanayev declared a state of emergency during the August 1991 coup, telling television viewers that then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev -- who was under house arrest in Crimea -- was "resting" and "needs some time to get his health back."
Yanayev served as a Soviet vice president from 1990-91 before the coup plotters proclaimed him acting president of the USSR.
He was jailed after the two-day failed coup but granted amnesty in 1994.
compiled from agency reports