Chinese President Hu Jintao sent a message of condolences on Thursday to Turkmenistan's acting President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov over the death of President Saparmurat Niyazov.
Hu's message, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, expressed "deep-felt" condolences on the death of Turkmenistan's President Niyazov and "sincere" sympathies to the government and people of Turkmenistan and the president's family.
Niyazov, 66, died early Thursday of a heart attack.
Hu said in the message that President Niyazov was an "intimate" friend of the Chinese people and had made an "outstanding" contribution to the friendly and cooperative relations between China and Turkmenistan.
"His death was not only a great loss for the people of Turkmenistan but also means that the Chinese people have lost a sincere friend," said Hu.
China attaches great importance to the relations with Turkmenistan and cherishes the traditional friendship between the two countries, he said in the message.
Hu stressed that China respects the development path chosen by the people of Turkmenistan.
China is willing to work with Turkmenistan to continue developing the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries, he said.