Bogota, Jan 26 (efe-epa).- Tributes poured in on Tuesday for Colombian Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo Garcia, who died of Covid-19 at the age of 69.
President Ivan Duque delivered the news of the passing of the leading conservative politician, saying in a speech at the presidential palace in Bogota that he felt “deep sorrow and sadness.”
Duque added that Trujillo died early Tuesday of health complications while battling the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus at a military hospital in Bogota.
Trujillo, who had served as Duque’s foreign affairs minister during the first 15 months of his administration, tested positive for the coronavirus on Jan. 12 in the northern city of Barranquilla, two days after leading a security council meeting in the nearby city of Santa Marta.
Born in 1951, the late minister had a long career in politics, heading up the Education, Interior, Foreign Affairs and Defense ministries in three different administrations.
In recent years, Trujillo was a staunch critic of the peace agreement signed in November 2016 between then-President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration and the then-head of the leftist FARC guerrilla group, Rodrigo “Timochenko” Londoño, both of whom lamented his death.
“I deeply regret the death of Carlos Holmes Trujillo. He was a friend. We worked together and, despite our differences of late, he was always a great gentleman and great public servant. My sincere condolences to his entire family,” Santos, the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, wrote on Twitter.
“I send my condolences to the family and friends of Carlos Holmes Trujillo. I’m a revolutionary, someone who loves life and believes in peace through social justice, and I lament every death,” Londoño said.
Trujillo, who served between 1988 and 1990 as the mayor of the southwestern city of Cali, later became a major figure in the rightist Democratic Center party co-founded and led by ex-President Alvaro Uribe.
“The death of Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo is heart-breaking,” Uribe tweeted, saying his passing has left a great void and citing his “gentlemanliness, equanimity, patriotism, friendship and company at all hours.”
The United States’ embassy in Bogota also paid tribute to the late defense minister.
“With the death of Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Colombia has lost a great patriot, leader and statesman. The United States has lost a great friend and ally,” that diplomatic mission said. EPA-EFE