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Ex-Philippines President Benigno Aquino dies of renal failure at 61

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MANILA, June 24 (Reuters) - Former Philippines President Benigno Aquino, the son of two of the Southeast Asian country's democracy icons, died in a Manila hospital on Thursday of renal failure as a result of diabetes, his family said.

Aquino, 61, who was president of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016, had been hospitalised earlier on Thursday. read more

"It is with profound grief that on behalf of our family, I am confirming that our brother, Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III, died peacefully in his sleep," the family said in a statement read by Pinky Aquino Abellada, one of four surviving sisters.

"His death certificate pronounced his death at 6:30 a.m. due to renal disease secondary to diabetes."

President Rodrigo Duterte declared June 24 to July 3 as period of national mourning, with the national flag to be flown at half-mast on all government buildings.

"I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Aquino family," Duterte said in a speech. "Please accept the love and the prayers of a grateful nation."

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Former Philippine's President Benigno Aquino III listens during a senate hearing on the anti dengue drug Dengvaxia at the Philippine senate in Pasay city, Manila, Philippines December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

Vice President Leni Robredo, who ran under the then Aquino-led ruling party when elected in 2016, said it was "heart-breaking" to hear of his death.

"He tried to do what was right, even when it was not popular," she said in a statement. "He worked quietly and tirelessly for the good of everyone. He will be missed."

Known popularly as Noynoy, Aquino rode a wave of public support to the presidency after the 2009 death of his mother, the revered "People Power" leader Corazon Aquino, who was herself president from 1986 until 1992.

His namesake father, a senator who staunchly opposed the rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos, was assassinated when he returned home from political exile in 1983.

The killing shocked the nation and helped propel Marcos out of office in the 1986 People Power revolution and ushered in his mother's presidency.

In a statement, Senator Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator, paid tribute to Aquino for his "kind and simple soul" and said he would be deeply missed.

Aquino still carried a bullet wound from an attempted military coup in 1987 against his mother’s administration, during which he was shot five times and three of his bodyguards were killed.

Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz and Karen Lema Editing by Ed Davies

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