Arroyo challenger dies of stroke

The actor who narrowly lost to President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines in elections last May has died after suffering a stroke.

Fernando Poe Jr, 65, had been taken to hospital after complaining of dizziness while drinking with friends in Manila and slipped into a coma.

In July, Mr Poe asked the Supreme Court to cancel the result of the poll which he lost by more than a million votes.

He accused Mrs Arroyo's campaign staff of widespread electoral fraud.

She denied the allegation and the court had yet to rule.

Mr Poe was one of the country's most famous film stars and had been a household name in the Philippines since the 1950s.

"It's with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our beloved Fernando Poe Jr," his family said in a statement.

"The family thank the people for their prayers and support."

Mr Poe came within 3% of blocking a fresh term for Mrs Arroyo with his promise to all Filipinos of "breakfast, lunch and dinner".

He was a newcomer to politics but had a huge fan base from his days as an actor, when he was known as "Da King" or FPJ.

His films, where he usually played a strong, silent type fighting crime, included Muslim Magnum .357 and Shout For Justice.

13/12/2004

Bron : BBC

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