Sao Paulo (AFP)
The mayor of Sao Paulo, the most populous city in Brazil, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer of the digestive system, the hospital where he was being treated announced.
Mayor Bruno Covas was hospitalized on May 2 as cancer, first diagnosed in 2019, spread through his bo
His medical team said on Friday his condition was terminal.
The news of his death, announced by the Syrian-Lebanese hospital in the city, caused a wave on social media, with thousands of supporters expressing their condolences for the moderate politician and their solidarity with his family.
Covas, a member of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party, had positioned himself at the center of a polarized country, seeking to become the moderate leader of a new political generation in a Brazil ruled by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
While leading his city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Covas himself contracted Covid-19 last August. After his convalescence, he was easily re-elected, with nearly 60% of the vote.
Sao Paulo, the economic capital of Brazil with a population of over 12 million, has lost 29,000 lives due to the coronavirus.
This year, as Covas’ cancer worsened, he asked the city’s House of Councilors for a 30-day break to allow him to fully focus on his health.
“My body demands that I devote more time to the treatment, which is entering a more demanding phase,” he said on Twitter.
Deputy mayor Ricardo Nunes, a centrist, is expected to complete Covas’ term, which runs until 2024.
Covas, a lawyer by training whose grandfather Mario Covas was one of the country’s most influential politicians, began his political career at age 26, winning his first election in 2006 as a member of the Assembly of Sao Paulo.
He then served as the city’s environmental secretary.
Covas was elected deputy mayor in 2016 and became mayor two years later when then mayor Joao Doria resigned to run for state governor.
Covas was elected for a full term in November 2020.
© 2021 AFP