NEW YORK - A suspected al-Qaeda operative accused in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Africa died Saturday, days before he was scheduled to go on trial, authorities said.

Abu Anas al Libi, 50, once one of the FBI’s most wanted, died of complications from liver surgery in a New York hospital. Authorities claimed al Libi, whose real name is Nazih al-Ruqaii, played a key role in the 1998 bombings in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 244 people, including 12 Americans. He was captured in October 2013 in Libya.

Al Libi, a computer expert, and Saudi businessman Khalid al-Fawwaz were scheduled to stand trial on January 12 in connection to the bombing. Both pleaded not guilty. A third suspect, Adel Abdel Bary, pleaded guilty in September for his role in the attacks. His son Ahmed al-Ragye, who spoke to international news medoa from Libya,  blamed US authorities for his death.

‘We hold the US legally responsible for the death of my father. He had developed cancer while being in prison in America,’ Ragye said. ‘We had undergone surgery in a hospital and had been sent back afterwards to prison though his condition had not been stable,’ he said. ‘We demand US authorities to send his body back without conducting an autopsy so we can see ourselves and verify why he died.’ New York US Attorney Preet Bharara said in the letter Libi suffered ‘sudden complications arising out of his long-standing medical problems’ and died on Jan 2. Prosecutors said Liby’s lawyer was with him throughout the day and an imam was present at the hospital. Liby’s attorney, Bernard Kleinman, could not be immediately reached.