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The government said that BOGOTA, Colombia – Carlos Holmes Trujillo, who was serving as defense minister, died early Tuesday from viral pneumonia related to Kovid-19.

Mr. Trujillo, who was 69, was hospitalized on January 11 after exhibiting symptoms of coronovirus. He was taken to the intensive care unit four days later. Although his condition was stable in recent times, a government statement said that he started deteriorating overnight and died shortly before 2 am

“One of the most painful moments we’ve lived through” President Ivan Duke said. “I ask God for strength and always for hope.” I am with his family and his loved ones. “

A former mayor of Cali, diplomat and minister in various governments, Mr. Holmes Trujillo, as head of Colombia’s large armed forces, Mr. Duke served as foreign minister. Colombia’s security services, which work closely with the US, face increasing dual challenges of drug addiction and increased violence in remote areas where drug gangs are on hold.

“The United States has lost a great friend and ally,” said US Ambassador to Columbia Philip S. Goldberg. “Personally, I am deeply saddened by the loss of a friend and colleague of immense talent.”

The death leaves a void for the ruling Democratic Center Party, which is trying to decide on a candidate who can win in next year’s presidential election. Mr Trujillo, who had tried for the party’s nomination in the last two elections, was expected to re-establish his position, although he did not publicly announce his candidacy. Mr. Trujillo, the former president who was the head of the party, was close to वरlvaro Uribe.

“He was a potential top contender,” said Sergio Guzman, an analyst at Columbia Risk. He said that Mr. Trujillo was expected to step down in the coming months to begin campaigning.

Mr. Trujillo is one of the world’s senior government officials who died in the epidemic. His death drew condolences from allies such as the rival government in Israel and even Venezuela. Mr. Trujillo openly supported the Venezuelan opposition movement.

“He was a great friend, public servant and an important ally in the struggle to save freedom and democracy in Venezuela,” said Leader of the Opposition Julio Borges, who lives in Colombia.

A country of 50 million, 52,000 people have died due to the Columbia epidemic.

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