Argentina's controversial ex-President dead at 90

Argentine ex-President Carlos Menem died at age 90, the country’s current President tweeted on Sunday.

"With deep regret I learned of his death... All my love goes to all those who mourn him today."

Menem was a flamboyant character whose personal life littered the 1990s tabloids, while he also led Argentina into an economic boom.

He battled long-term health problems late in life, but he’ll be remembered for his two-term presidency from 1989 to 1999.

Menem considered himself the populist successor of his political mentor and founder of the Peronist party, Juan Peron.

He served as La Rioja’s governor in the mid-1970s, but after a military coup in 1976, he was imprisoned for five years.

After his release, he was re-elected governor two more times and prepared his bid for the presidency.

A charismatic leader who dressed in stylish silk and linen suits, he inherited a broken economy with rampant inflation in 1989.

Although he was a populist, he sold off state companies and instituted free-market reforms, which drew him praise from Washington D.C. and international leaders.

Argentina’s economy grew robustly in the early 1990s, but Menem was later blamed for high unemployment, corruption and overspending.

His personal life also garnered attention a year after becoming president, when he and his wife separated over his rock-star lifestyle and devotion to fast cars, golf and glamour.

He wanted to run for a third term, but courts ruled he could not, and economic and political chaos descended on Argentina soon after he left power.

He told Reuters in a 2004 interview, "With the last breath I take, I will remain in politics.”

His body will lie in state at the capitol building before being laid to rest in an Islamic cemetery near Buenos Aires.