Former Argentine president de la Rua dead at 81

Former Argentine President (1999-2001) Fernando De La Rua speaks with the press after being acquitted on bribery charges, outside Argentina’s Federal Court in Buenos Aires on December 23, 2013. (AFP pic)

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine former head of state Fernando de la Rua – who was famously evacuated by helicopter from the presidential palace during the 2001 economic crisis – died today in Buenos Aires at the age of 81.

“I share in the pain of his family,” said President Mauricio Macri, in announcing his death. “His democratic journey deserves recognition by all Argentinians.”

De la Rua, who served from 1999 to 2001, died Tuesday at dawn in a clinic in the capital where he had been hospitalised with heart and kidney problems, according to local media.