A Libyan charged over the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in East Africa has died, days before he was to stand trial in New York, his lawyer said.

Abu Anas al-Liby, 50, was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most-wanted list with a $5m bounty on his head when he was captured by US troops in the Libyan capital Tripoli in October 2013.

He and Saudi businessman Khalid al-Fawwaz were due to stand trial on January 12 over the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people and wounded more than 5,000.

But al-Liby, a computer expert, died at a hospital in the New York area on Friday, his lawyer Bernard Kleinman told The Washington Post , saying the health of his client - who had advanced liver cancer - had deteriorated  significantly in the last month.

Liby and Fawwaz both previously pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges.

A third suspect, Egyptian Adel Abdel Bary, last year pleaded guilty to playing a role in the 1998 attacks.

Liby, who also suffered from hepatitis C, told a federal court in Manhattan in October that he had been on hunger strike when questioned by FBI agents - during which he made an incriminating statement.

Looking pale and thin, and speaking very quietly through a translator, Liby told the court that he told "anyone who asked" that he was on a hunger strike.

He was detained by US commandos on October 5, 2013 and interrogated on board a US warship before being handed over to FBI agents on October 12.

Source: AFP