Thursday, October 20, 2005

PM's wife passed away

Endon Mahmood, the wife of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, died Thursday after a four-year battle with breast cancer. She was 64.

Endon Mahmood's death came less than two months after the couple marked their 40th wedding anniversary. The Malaysian leader took office in October 2003 following the retirement of his predecessor, longtime leader Mahathir Mohamad.

Endon, who recently underwent months of intensive chemotherapy in Los Angeles, died at the family's official residence Thursday morning in Putrajaya, Malaysia's administrative capital, after being released from a Malaysian hospital Monday, said Abdullah's spokeswoman, Esuriyanti Ahmad.

"The family members were at her side, everybody was there," Esuriyanti said.

Parliament proceedings and several other government functions were canceled Thursday. Thousands of people were expected to gather at Abdullah's home to pay their final respects to Endon before she was buried in a traditional Muslim funeral later Thursday.
The couple have a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.

Abdullah has often publicly called Endon his "No. 1 supporter." When his mother died of natural causes in February 2004, Abdullah telephoned Endon in the United States, where she was undergoing treatment. She later told reporters that he said: "I've lost my mother and I don't want to lose you too."

Endon met Abdullah while both were working at the Public Services Department in the 1960s. After retiring in 1976, she has mainly been involved in charity work for women and children, and has spearheaded efforts to assist children in North Korea, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.

Since 2002, Endon had been deeply involved in awareness programs for breast cancer, the main cause of illness-related fatalities for Malaysian women.

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