Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino dies in hospital at 61



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former Philippine’s President Benigno Aquino III listens during a senate hearing on the anti dengue drug Dengvaxia at the Philippine senate in Pasay city, Manila, Philippines December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

By Karen Lema and Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA (Reuters) -Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino, the son of two of the Southeast Asian country’s democracy icons, died on Thursday after being hospitalised in Manila.

The 61-year-old was president of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016.

“It is with profound sadness that I learned this morning of the passing of former Pres. Benigno Aquino,” Supreme Court justice Marvic Leonen, who was appointed by Aquino in 2012, said in a statement.

“It was an honor to have served with him. He will be missed,” the statement said.

The cause of his death was not immediately clear, but he had been hospitalised earlier on Thursday.

Known popularly as Noynoy, he rode a wave of public support to the presidency after the 2009 death of his mother, the revered “People Power” leader Corazon Aquino, who was herself president from 1986 until 1992.

His namesake father, a senator who staunchly opposed the rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos, was assassinated when he returned home from political exile in 1983.

The killing shocked the nation and helped propel Marcos out of office in the 1986 People Power revolution and ushered in his mother’s presidency.

Flags were flying at half mast on the senate building in Manila on Thursday.

In a statement, Senator Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator, paid tribute to Aquino for his “kind and simple soul” and said he would be deeply missed.

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Aquino still carried a bullet wound from a 1987 attempted military coup against his mother’s administration, during which he was shot five times and three of his bodyguards were killed.

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