Peru’s former president Alan Garcia died in a hospital in Lima on Wednesday, hours after shooting himself in the head to avoid arrest in connection with a bribery probe. He was 69.
A skilled orator elected president twice, first as a firebrand leftist and then as a champion of foreign investment and free trade, Garcia had been dogged by allegations of corruption in recent years that he denied.
Garcia had been one of nine people a judge had ordered to be arrested on Wednesday for alleged involvement in bribes distributed by Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company that triggered Latin America’s biggest graft scandal when it admitted in 2016 that it had paid kickbacks to politicians across the region to secure lucrative contracts.
His party announced the death to crowds outside the Casimiro Ulloa hospital, where he suffered three cardiac arrests and underwent emergency surgery.
President Martin Vizcarra said he was “consternated” by Garcia’s death.
Garcia governed as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 before remaking himself as a free-market proponent and winning another five-year term in 2006.