GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — Former South Vietnamese general Khanh Nguyen (KAHN WIHN), who briefly gained control of the government in a coup and went on to lead a "government in exile" in California, has died.

Nguyen's successor Chanh Nguyen Huu (CHAHN WIHN HOO) says the former general died Jan. 11 at a San Jose hospital after struggling with diabetes. He was 86.

In 1960, Nguyen helped stop a coup against U.S.-backed president Ngo Dinh Diem (NOH DIHN DEE'-em) when he mistook rebels for Viet Cong soldiers and rushed to the president's defense.

South Vietnamese generals overthrew Diem's regime three years later and started a period of political turmoil.

Nguyen himself took over the government in a 1964 coup, but left Vietnam the following year when other generals forced him out.

He lived in France for years before settling in California in 1977.