Chile ex-president Pinera dies in helicopter crash, aged 74

Chile's former president Sebastian Pinera, a billionaire tycoon who twice held the South American nation's top job, died Tuesday in a helicopter crash, his office said in a statement.

The 74-year-old Pinera often flew himself around in his own helicopter, and was a former shareholder in the country's national airline, with stakes in television and football, among other businesses.

The crash took place in Lago Ranco, a lake district some 920 kilometers (570 miles) south of Santiago, where Pinera spent vacations with his children and grandchildren.

"It is with deep regret that we announce the death of the former president of the Republic of Chile," his office said in a statement.

Three other people who had been in the helicopter survived the crash.

Leftist President Gabriel Boric, who succeeded Pinera in 2022, declared three days of mourning and a state funeral on Friday, characterizing Pinera as having "genuinely sought what he believed was best for the county."

Former and current Latin American leaders offered their tributes, including Peruvian President Dina Boluarte and former Bolivian presidents Evo Morales and Jeanine Anez.

"Peace to his soul," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wrote on X, adding that his country joins Chileans in mourning their former president.

Colombia's Foreign Ministry sent its "sincere condolences" to the Chilean people in a statement remembering the Pinera government's support in Bogota's peace negotiations with the FARC guerrilla group.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wrote on X that he was "surprised and saddened" by Pinera's death.

Outside his party's headquarters and at his house in the Las Condes commune near Santiago, dozens of admirers left...

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