Former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner.
Argentina, This Week in Latin America

Former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner Dies Of A Heart Attack

October 28, 2010 By Staff

Former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Argentina’s former President Néstor Kirchner died Wednesday at the age of 60, after he suffered a heart attack in the town of El Calafate in southern Argentina.

Kirchner, who served as president of Argentina from 2003 to 2007 and was the husband of current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, complained of flu symptoms Tuesday night, lost consciousness early Wednesday and was rushed to a hospital in El Calafate where he was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. local time.

Kirchner’s death, which comes on a national holiday to conduct the census, throws next year’s presidential elections and the presidency of Fernández de Kirchner into a state of flux. Kirchner’s popularity aided his wife’s election and he held a great deal of influence behind the scenes of her government.

With the upcoming 2011 elections in Argentina, Kirchner was rumored to be the ruling party’s main candidate. Earlier this year the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) elected Kirchner as the group’s first secretary-general.

The former Argentine president will be remembered for his independent streak and his tough stance in negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Kirchner led Argentina’s climb out of the recession following the devastating economic crisis of 2001 that prompted street protests and brought down the administration of Fernando de la Rúa.

World leaders lamented Kirchner’s death Wednesday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying her country grieved with all Argentines and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announcing three days of national mourning.

The Argentine Football Association announced that all soccer matches in Argentina have been suspended this weekend following Kirchner’s death.

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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

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Image: chavezcandanga @ Flickr.

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