Former Philippines president Aquino dies

The former Philippines president Corazon Aquino has died from advanced colon cancer at the age of 76.

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The former Philippines president Corazon Aquino, who swept away a dictator with a "people power" revolt and sustained democracy by fighting off seven coup attempts in six years, has died, her son said. She was 76. The uprising she led in 1986 ended the repressive 20-year regime of Ferdinand Marcos and inspired non-violent protests across the globe, including those that ended communist rule in eastern Europe. Ms Aquino rose to power after the 1983 assassination of her husband, opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.

She was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer last year and confined to a Manila hospital for more than a month. Her son said the cancer had spread to other organs and she was too weak to continue chemotherapy. For the past month, supporters have been holding daily prayers for Ms Aquino in churches. "She was headstrong and single-minded in one goal, and that was to remove all vestiges of an entrenched dictatorship," Raul C. Pangalangan, the former dean of the College of Law at the University of the Philippines, said earlier this month. "We all owe her in a big way."

Her son, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, said she died at 3.18 am Saturday. Requiem Masses have been scheduled for later today, and yellow ribbons were tied on trees around her neighborhood in Quezon city. Ms Aquino's body will lie in state at the De La Salle Catholic school in Manila from this evening until Monday morning, and she will be buried beside her husband at the Manila Memorial Park in a private ceremony on Wednesday.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is on an official visit to the United States, remembered Ms Aquino as a "national treasure" who helped lead "a revolution to restore democracy and the rule of law to our nation at a time of great peril". "She picked up the standard from the fallen warrior Ninoy and helped lead our nation to a brighter day," Ms Arroyo said. The Philippines will observe 10 days of national mourning, she said. The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it would accord full military honours during Ms Aquino's wake, including gun salutes and lowering flags to half-staff.

Television stations today ran footage of Ms Aquino's years in power together with prayers while her former aides and supporters offered condolences. "Today our country has lost a mother," said former President Joseph Estrada, calling Ms Aquino "woman of both strength and graciousness." *AP