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Former Chilean President Dies In Helicopter Crash

Sebastián Piñera, the former president of Chile, died in a helicopter crash on Tuesday. He was 74.

His death was confirmed by Chile Interior Minister Carolina Tohá, who said in a statement that the helicopter was carrying four people in the Los Ríos region of southern Chile when it crashed. The three others survived.

Details on what caused the accident have not yet been made available.

Piñera served two terms as a conservative president, first from 2010 to 2014 and again from 2018 to 2022.

During a 2013 meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Piñera raised eyebrows by sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, breaking White House protocol.

“I’m going to sit at the president of the United States’ desk,” Piñera said before doing just that.

The former billionaire president oversaw his nation’s COVID-19 response. Chile’s vaccination rate in 2021 was among the top five countries in the world.

In 2021, he signed a historic bill into law allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt. During the signing, Piñera said the new law would “allow all children with a papa and mama, with two papas or with two mamas, to have the same rights and the same protection.”

In 2019, he faced criticism for violent police responses to October demonstrations against the country’s education, health and pension systems, according to The Associated Press.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric, who succeeded Piñera in 2022, has declared a period of national mourning to mark Piñera’s death. A state funeral is expected to be scheduled.