Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika has been admitted to hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Mr Mutharika, 78, is said to be unconscious in the intensive care unit of a hospital in the capital, Lilongwe, after falling ill on Thursday morning.
His wife Callista and his brother, Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika are among those to have visited him.
Accusations of economic mismanagement and nepotism have recently sparked violent protests against his rule.
The president has also been embroiled in a bitter power struggle within his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
A hospital source quoted by the Reuters news agency said there had been "panic" when the president was brought in.
"His head was covered to hide his face as he was wheeled in on a wheelchair," another medical source told the agency.
But a government spokeswoman, Patricia Kaliati, said she was unable to confirm that Mr Mutharika was in hospital.
"What you are saying is news to me. I was with him this morning and I can tell you that he is alright," she told Reuters.
Who is Bingu wa Mutharika?
1934: Born Ryson Webster Thom in southern district of Thyolo. Adopts current name in 1960s
1964: Goes abroad to escape then President Hastings Banda's crackdown on political opponents
1992: Co-founds underground United Democratic Front (UDF)
1999: Comes last in presidential elections
2004: Elected president as candidate of UDF
2005: Leaves UDF to form DPP
2009: Re-elected for a second term
2011: UK cuts direct aid after Mr Mutharika expels its envoy
There has been no official declaration yet that Mr Mutharika is too ill to continue as president - but under the terms of Malawi's constitution, the vice-president - Joyce Banda - takes over if the head of state is either incapacitated or dies.
As more than half of Mr Mutharika's term is over, Ms Banda should serve out the remainder of his term as president, and no new elections are needed, according to the constitution.
The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre says that if this comes to pass, it would be a huge shake-up of Malawi's political establishment.
She was elected as the country's vice-president alongside Mr Mutharika but they fell out after Peter Mutharika was named as the DPP's presidential candidate in 2014.
Ms Banda was expelled from the DPP and formed her own People's Party.
Bingu wa Mutharika came to power in a 2004 election. Soon afterwards, he dramatically abandoned his United Democratic Front party to form the DPP, after accusing leading UDF members of opposing his campaign against corruption.
Since being re-elected with a large majority in 2009, critics allege he has demonstrated an increasingly authoritarian streak.
The criticism has led to a souring in relations with major foreign aid donors, especially the United Kingdom.
Last year, Mr Mutharika expelled the UK High Commissioner, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, after a leaked embassy cable quoted the diplomat as saying that the president could not tolerate criticism.
The Malawian leader said he could not accept "insults" just because the UK was his country's largest aid donor.
In response, the UK expelled the Malawian envoy to London and cut direct aid.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated 75% of the population living on less than $1 (60p) a day.
The country has suffered shortages of fuel and foreign currency since the UK and other donors cancelled aid.
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