Cyprus Mourns Passing of Former President

President Tasos Papadopoulos died yesterday after a long battle with lung cancer.

Our dearest condolences to his loved ones and we hope he rests in peace.

Full article from Cyprus Mail:

Papadopoulos loses cancer battle
By Jean Christou

CYPRUS will mark the passing of former President Tassos Papadopoulos with three days of mourning following his death yesterday from lung cancer.

Papadopoulos, 74, was hospitalised in Nicosia on November 22, suffering from breathing problems. His condition had been touch and go for the past week.

Diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer, reports yesterday said he had passed a difficult night on Thursday. He died at 1.05pm yesterday with family and friends by his bedside.

He will be buried on Monday in a state funeral at 11am at Ayia Sofia church in Strovolos, presided over by Archbishop Chrysostomos. Monday has also been declared a public holiday.

Papadopoulos’ death was announced by Director of the Intensive Care Unit of the Nicosia General Hospital Theodoros Kyprianou, along with Health Minister Christos Patsalides.

“President Papadopoulos faced his illness with strength and dignity throughout,” said Kyprianou. “The medical team… would like to express their sincere condolences to his wife, siblings and children.”

Reading a written statement to the press, Papadopoulos` son Constantinos Giorkatzis, together with Nicolas Papadopoulos, his other son, and a House Deputy, said: “Our father Tassos Papadopoulos left us after an intermittent battle with a disease…a battle he fought with courage, dignity and persistence, qualities which characterised every moment of his life,” Giorkatzis added, his voice breaking.

He thanked the Minister of Health, the doctors and hospital personnel for their efforts in easing his pain during his last days.

“Today, Cyprus lost a patriot, a tireless fighter who struggled all his life for freedom and democracy. He served Cyprus with consistency, devotion and commitment to principles and values,” Giorkatzis said.

“Today, our family lost a devoted husband, a caring grandfather, a beloved brother and a wonderful father”.

Papadopoulos, the former leader of centre-right DIKO, and a mega-successful lawyer, who was married to Photini Michaelides, had two other children Maria and Anastasia.

President Demetris Christofias, whose party AKEL was a coalition partner during Papadopoulos` 2003-2008 presidency and who defeated him in this year’s election, fought to hold back his tears during a statement he made in Brussels yesterday.

“I would like to express my deep sorrow and the sorrow of all the people of Cyprus for the loss of former President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos” he said.

“A close bond of friendship tied me to Tassos Papadopoulos. We worked together, fought battles together, and we jointly struggled for the cause of Cyprus,” he added.

Chrisotfias praised the role Papadopoulos played in the history of Cyprus from the struggle against colonial rule to his place as the youngest cabinet minister appointed after Independence to his own term as President at one of the most crucial period in Cyprus` history – the referendum on the UN reunification plan in 2004. Papadopoulos also oversaw Cyprus accession to the EU in May that year, and the island’s entry to the euro zone at the beginning of this year.

“Tassos Papadopoulos has devoted his whole life to matters concerning this society since he was young,” Christofias said. “He will remain in history as one of the leaders of the modern history of our country,” he added.

Yesterday afternoon, the cabinet announced three days of mourning –to honour the former President. Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said all flags would fly at half mast while a book of condolences was to be opened at the Foreign Ministry and also at Cypriot embassies abroad. Monday was declared a public holiday with all schools and all official events cancelled. A white rose is to be put in the spot where Papadopoulos used to sit at the National Council meetings.

House President, and DIKO leader Marios Garoyian chaired the extraordinary cabinet meeting and led a one-minute silence after which he paid tribute to his mentor.

“President Papadopoulos honoured the office of President of the Republic, and honoured the homeland in all of the struggles and challenges it faced,” said Garoyian.

“I know that you are all shocked at his untimely death. You all knew him as President and as a human being as well. Many of you have served in his Cabinet and others have been his close associates and friends.”

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008

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