SAO PAULO – Celso Pitta, who is known as being the only black mayor in the history of Sao Paulo and also for a corruption scandal surrounding his administration, has died of cancer, medical sources said Saturday. He was 63.
The politician passed away around midnight Friday at Sao Paulo’s Sirio-Libanes Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for intestinal cancer, that health center said in a statement.
Pitta served as Sao Paulo’s mayor from 1997-2000 after having been that metropolis’ finance secretary from 1993 to 1996.
During the last year of his administration, he was forced to relinquish his post for a period of 18 days over allegations he received a substantial loan from a businessman in exchange for favorable treatment from his government.
He was subsequently reinstated following a court battle.
After his term as mayor expired, Pitta unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the lower house of Congress.
Some of the corruption allegations Pitta faced were made by his ex-wife, Nicea Pitta, who accused him of bribing city council members to reject a measure to dismiss him.