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Factbox: Argentina's ex-president Nestor Kirchner

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, the president’s husband and predecessor, died on Wednesday. Kirchner, seen as a key presidential contender for 2011, had undergone two arterial procedures earlier this year.

Here are some key facts about Kirchner:

* Kirchner, 60, was a little-known governor from a Patagonian oil province when he was elected in 2003 after ex-President Carlos Menem quit the race. Kirchner oversaw Argentina’s recovery from the 2001-02 crisis and many Argentines credit him with fighting poverty and unemployment.

* After meeting his wife, current President Cristina Fernandez, at law school in the turbulent 1970s, the couple took turns in the political limelight. She was a close advisor during his 2003-2007 rule and he was a key economic advisor since she succeeded him in December 2007.

* Kirchner was seen as a key contender in next year’s presidential race. His popularity closely tracked approval ratings for his wife’s presidency that have rebounded from lows of about 20 percent alongside an economic recovery.

* In their back-to-back tenures, Kirchner and his wife increased state control of the economy, intervening in financial and grains markets and maintaining price controls that analysts say have dampened investment in the energy sector.

* Kirchner was given to fiery speeches peppered with leftist rhetoric and outspoken criticism of political rivals, private companies and the International Monetary Fund.

Additional writing by David Cutler and Brad Haynes; editing by Philip Barbara