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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 03:51 GMT 04:51 UK
Brazilian politician Brizola dies
Leonel Brizola
Power eluded Brizola after his return from exile
One of Brazil's most famous left-wing politicians, Leonel Brizola, has died in hospital in Rio de Janeiro at 82.

Mr Brizola, a vice-president of the Socialist International, spent 15 years in exile in Uruguay while Brazil was under military rule.

On his return he became governor of Rio de Janeiro State in the 1980s and stood twice unsuccessfully for president.

Only last month, he announced his intention to stand again in the 2006 presidential election.

A former running mate of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brizola died of heart failure after checking into the Sao Lucas hospital in Rio de Janeiro on Monday with the flu, said hospital spokeswoman Priscilla Mattos.

Jose Genoino, president of Lula's Workers' Party, said it was a "great loss".

"Brizola was always someone with dignity, he was honest and one of the most important politicians of the last decades," he added.


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