Maria Leticia Rocco, wife of the former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, died on Thursday in the city of Sao Paulo from an aneurysm, said the Workers’ Party lawmaker Benedita da Silva.
Rocco, 66, was taken on to the emergency room at Sao Paulo’s Hospital Sirio Libanes on Jan. 24 due to a stroke, but her health quickly deteriorated. She was in an induced coma and her doctors described her condition Wednesday as “irreversible.”
“I want to announce the death of the wife of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has authorized us to do so, and ask for a moment of silence on behalf of who was the first lady of Brazil,” said the Workers’ Party, or PT, lawmaker Benedita da Silva in Brazil’s lower house of Congress.
Rocco was Brazil’s first lady between 2003 and 2011, and was accused several times without proof of allegedly accepting, along with Lula, bribes from construction giant Odebrecht, one of the companies implicated in the corruption scandal centered on state-run oil company Petrobras.
Lula published on his Facebook page a message thanking “all the expressions of affection and solidarity received in the last 10 days for her recovery.”
Rocco had four children, three of them with Lula, and was his second wife. They married in 1973 when they were both widows, and she participated in the founding of the Workers’ Party in 1980.
“The family authorized the preparatory procedures for organ donation,” Lula had written on his Facebook page nearly an hour before news of his wife’s death was released.
Lula, despite being continuously accused of corruption, has suggested more than once that he may be a candidate in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election.