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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Malaysia PM's wife dies of cancer
 This file photo dated 05 May 2005 shows Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (L) and his wife Endon Mahmood during a ceremony in Putrajaya.
Mr Abdullah and Endon Mahmood were widely seen to have a happy marriage
Malaysia is mourning the death of Endon Mahmood, the popular wife of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, from breast cancer.

Her funeral, held soon after her death on Wednesday, was nationally televised.

Parliament adjourned and local television and radio stations broadcast prayers and sombre music as a mark of respect for Endon Mahmood, who was 64.

The prime minister and his wife had been married for 40 years, and had what was seen as a model partnership.

Mr Abdullah was reported to be at times tearful but calm as he received mourners, including high level representatives from Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.

When asked by reporters if he was coping well, Mr Abdullah smiled weakly and said: "We'll see," the Associated Press reported.

Endon Mahmood was respected by the Malaysian public for her gentle unassuming personality, and was popularly referred to as "Kak Endon," or "Elder Sister Endon."

She told The Star newspaper in 2003: "I must be supportive and understanding of [my husband's] duties.

"I always compliment him. He will always phone when he is away, and we always tell each other we love each other."

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said he thought the prime minister was bearing up well under the strain.

"She was such a loving wife to Abdullah, she brought so much joy for him, we will all miss her greatly," he said.

"Abdullah is a tower of strength for the Cabinet. Despite this difficult moment, he is very composed and very calm. It is amazing how he is holding himself, since Endon was very dear to him."

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