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1952: Eva Peron dies
Eva Duarte de Peron, wife of the president of the Argentine Republic, has died from cancer, aged 33.

She passed away at 2025 local time at the presidential residence in the company of her husband General Juan Domingo Peron.

Her death was announced by the Subsecretariat of Information at 2142.

The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Dr Campora, immediately submitted a bill to Congress, declaring 26 July as a national day of mourning from now on.

The government has announced that it will observe official mourning for 30 days.

'Brilliant and devoted'

The Queen sent a message of condolence to the Argentine president.

It read: "I extend to you my deepest sympathy and that of my people for the tragic loss which you and the Argentine people have suffered in the premature death of your brilliant and devoted partner."

Argentina's most famous first lady, who was recently proclaimed "spiritual chief of the Argentine nation" by Congress, was born Maria Eva Duarte on 7 May 1919 in the village of Los Toldos.

She was the youngest of five children born to Juana Ibarguren and Juan Duarte. Her father died when she was seven and the family struggled to make ends meet.

Before she was 20 Eva had moved to Buenos Aires to pursue her theatrical aspirations.

She met the then Colonel Juan Domingo Peron in 1944 when he was vice president and secretary of war and the couple were married in 1945.

The following year General Peron became president. His wife devoted her time to the poor, or the descamisados (shirtless ones), of Argentina and over the next seven years brought the working classes into a position of political power never witnessed before.

She organised mass political rallies and spent millions of pounds of public money on the poor. She got women the vote and legalised divorce.

But the Peronist years were controversial.

Although hailed a social champion and adored by the working classes, Evita, as she became known, was feared and loathed by the military and the upper classes. They regarded her as a threat and believed she was using her public position to further her own personal aspirations.

In 1951 she was nominated for vice-presidency but was forced to withdraw after pressure from the military.

Her last public appearance was on 4 June this year when she stood beside her husband in an open motor-car during the inauguration ceremonies for his second presidential term.

Her body, dressed in a white evening dress, has been taken to the Ministry of Labour and Welfare, where it will lie in state for two days.

It will then be transferred to the General Confederation of Labour.

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Eva Peron with her husband Juan on the balcony of Casa Rosada Government House, in Buenos Aires Oct. 17, 1950 .
Eva Peron was adored by the working classes of Argentina


In Context
In 1955 General Peron was overthrown in a military coup and he fled to Spain.

Evita's embalmed body was removed and its whereabouts remained a mystery until 1971.

It was eventually discovered that her body had lain in a secret grave for 14 years under the name of a nun in a Milan cemetery. It was returned to General Peron in Spain.

In 1973 Juan Peron returned to Argentina after years of exile to begin a third term as president.

His wife's body was taken back to Argentina in November 1974, four months after General Peron's death.

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