Jorge Sampaio, former president of Portugal Who also held positions in the United Nations, passed away on Friday (10) at the age of 81, his family announced to Lusa News Agency.
He had serious heart problems and had been hospitalized since the end of August in the capital, Lisbon.
“Jorge Sampaio left us today with a double legacy, which also consists of freedom and equality,” said the conservative current Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
The prime minister, Socialist Antonio Costa, praised the “moral integrity” of the politician, who “has always been an example,” and issued a three-day national mourning decree starting Saturday (11).
Sampaio was Secretary-General of the Socialist Party, Mayor of Lisbon, and Head of State of Portugal for two terms, between 1996 and 2006, in addition to being the United Nations Special Envoy to Combat Tuberculosis and High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations.
Born in Lisbon in 1939, to a wealthy family, Sampaio entered politics while studying law and led the 1962 university strikes against the dictatorship of Antonio Salazar. (1932-1968). When he became a lawyer, he defended several political prisoners.
In 1978, four years after the Carnation Revolution that ended the dictatorship, the politician joined the Socialist Party founded by Mario Soares. He was a deputy for many years, and in 1989, he became the party’s general secretary, and also won the Lisbon mayoral election.
Sampaio won the 1996 presidential election against Anibal Cavaco Silva in the first round and ruled Portugal for ten years.. He succeeded Mario Soares, who held the position between 1986 and 1996, and passed the belt to Cavaco Silva himself, who was Portuguese president between 2006 and 2016.
Then-President of Brazil, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, speaks with former President of Portugal and High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Jorge Sampaio, on May 28, 2010 – Photo: Evaristo Sá / AFP
After the presidency, at the age of 66, Sampaio became the United Nations Special Envoy for Tuberculosis Control and was a high representative of the Alliance of Civilizations, aiming to promote initiatives to overcome misunderstandings between cultures and religions.
In the last years, Sampaio led an international support network for Syrian students.
Videos: the latest world news
“Music fanatic. Professional problem solver. Reader. Award-winning tv ninja.”