Former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio dies at 81

Former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio dies at 81
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Jorge Sampaio, former president of Portugal, died on Friday at age 81.

Sampaio was admitted to the hospital in late August for breathing difficulties, Reuters reported, but the cause of death has not been disclosed.

The former president, a member of the Socialist Party who led the country from 1996-2006, rocked the political landscape when he dissolved parliament and called for new elections in 2005 while his party was in power.

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President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa praised Sampaio in a televised address Friday and cited his fight against the country’s dictatorship that ended in 1974.

"Jorge Sampaio was born and educated himself to become a fighter and his fight had a goal: freedom and equality," Rebelo de Sousa said. "He proved that you can be born privileged and still dedicate your life to help the underprivileged."

Sampaio became secretary general of the Socialist Party in 1989 and was mayor of Lisbon before winning the presidential election, Reuters noted.