Marisa Leticia, the wife of former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, no longer shows any brain activity after a stroke last week, doctors said in a statement on Thursday, adding that her organs would be prepared for donation.
The pending death of Marisa Leticia, 66, is yet another blow for Lula, a leader who ended his second term in 2011 with an 83-percent approval rating. He was adored by many in Latin America’s biggest country for boosting Brazil’s global profile and overseeing rapid economic growth during a commodities boom.
But the luster for Lula and his wife of 43 years has worn off in recent years as Brazil’s boom fizzled into a recession under his hand-picked successor, and as the couple became ensnared in a far-reaching corruption investigation.
Last year, the couple were named defendants in an ongoing trial linked to a sprawling kickback investigation of state-run oil company Petrobras, which revealed a deep-rooted culture of corruption among major businesses, elected officials and political leaders.
On Lula’s official Facebook page, his family on Thursday gave “thanks to all for the expressions of affection and solidarity” in the 10 days since Marisa Leticia suffered a stroke and said it had authorized her organs to be donated.
It was not clear on Thursday how soon those donations would happen or when Brazil’s former first lady would officially be declared deceased.
Lula, a fiery former union leader who in the late 1970s and early 80s led massive strikes that weakened Brazil’s military regime, outlived a previous wife, Maria de Lurdes. She died in childbirth in 1971 along with the couple’s son.
A taxi driver he often used, unbeknownst to Lula, subsequently sent Marisa Leticia, the widow of his deceased son, on an errand to the union office where Lula worked.
“It dawned on me: the old man set a trap for his daughter in law!” Lula recalled in “Lula, Son of Brazil,” a 2002 biography by Denise Parana.
From that moment, the couple was inseparable.
Marisa Leticia is also survived by the couples’ three sons, along with another son she had in a previous marriage. Lula has a daughter, Lurian, from another relationship.