Former President of the Philippines Maria Corazon Aquino Died

Saturday, August 1, 2009

(January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009) was a President of the Philippines and a world-renowned advocate of democracy, peace, women's empowerment, and religious piety. She served as the 11th president of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992. She was the first female president of the Philippines and was Asia's first female president.

Former President of the Philippines, Maria Corazon Aquino, has died at age 76 after being diagnosed with colon cancer last year. She was the Philippines' and Asia's first woman president.

After the brazen killing of her husband, politician Begnino Aquino Jr., in 1983 upon his arrival at the Manila airport following exile in the U.S, his widow became the leader of a massive, non-violent "People Power" protest movement that eventually led to the ouster of long-time strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

She assumed the presidency in 1986, the same year she became Time's "Woman of the Year" and eventually would fend off seven coup attempts, finally leaving office in 1992.

An unassuming, soft-spoken, self-described housewife, she became a symbol of democratic change and hope for millions around the world.

Her son, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, said his mother died at 3:18 a.m. Saturday (1918 GMT Friday).

Aquino was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer last year and confined to a Manila hospital for more than a month. Her son said the cancer had spread to other organs and she was too weak to continue her chemotherapy.

Supporters have been holding daily prayers for Aquino in churches in Manila and throughout the country for a month. Masses were scheduled for later Saturday, and yellow ribbons were tied on trees around her neighborhood in Quezon city.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is on an official visit to the United States, declared a period of national mourning and announced a state funeral would be held for the late president.

Aquino served six turbulent years as president of the Philippines after helping lead hundreds of thousands in a "people power" revolution that brought down the corrupt regime of strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos in February 1986.

The civilian-backed military uprising, with its stirring scenes of nuns kneeling to stop Marcos' tanks, made the Philippines a leader in the global wave of democratic movements that climaxed in the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.


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