MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) – Former Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez died on Saturday in Montevideo at the age of 80 after suffering from lung cancer, his son said in a tweet on Sunday.
The center-left politician and oncologist was president of Uruguay twice in 2005-2010 and 2015-2020 and was diagnosed with cancer last year towards the end of his second term. The Broad Front party he belonged to ran the cattle-farming country of 3.4 million people for 15 years up until elections last year.
His son Alvaro Vazquez said he died at home, in the presence of family and friends. “On behalf of the family, we want to thank all Uruguayans for the love received by him over so many years,” he tweeted.
Vazquez, who interchanged terms with Jose Mujica since Uruguay’s constitution bans presidents from serving consecutive terms, presided over the legalization of the state-controlled production, distribution and sale of cannabis.
The son of a union leader who grew up in a working class district in the capital, he was popular with Uruguayans for a mix of pro-business economic policies and strong welfare programs which helped kick-start a decade of robust growth and slashed poverty after a deep crisis in the early 2000s.
(Reporting by Fabian Werner and Hernan Nessi, writing by Aislinn Laing; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)