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Africa

Omar Bongo's wife Edith dies in Morocco

Latest update : 2009-03-15

Edith Lucie Bongo Ondimba, the wife of Gabon's President Omar Bongo, Africa's longest serving head of state, has died after a long illness in Morocco at the age of 45, the presidency announced. It did not specify the nature of her illness.

AFP - The wife of Gabon's President Omar Bongo, Africa's longest serving head of state, died Saturday after a long illness in Morocco at the age of 45, the presidency announced.

Edith Lucie Bongo Ondimba, the eldest daughter of President Denis Sassou Nguessou of Congo, died at 1620 GMT in Rabat, Morocco where she had been undergoing treatment for several months.

It did not specify the cause of death or the nature of her illness.

The first lady, known for her elegance and her commitment to fighting AIDS, had not appeared in public for around three years. She was a trained paediatrician.

Edith Bongo, born on March 10 1964, married the veteran Gabonese leader in 1990, becoming his second wife. Bongo's first spouse, Josephine Nkama, pursued a career as a singer before returning to Gabon after several years abroad.

The Gabonese first lady helped create a forum roping in African first ladies to fight AIDS, one of the continent's scourges. She was also instrumental in founding associations for vulnerable children and the handicapped.

Date created : 2009-03-15