BRASILIA – Former Brazilian first lady Marisa Leticia Rocco died on Thursday in Sao Paulo, Workers Party (PT) Congresswoman Benedita da Silva told the Chamber of Deputies. She was 66.
“I would like to announce the passing of the wife of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has authorized us to do so, and to ask for a minute of silence for our former first lady,” Da Silva said.
A statement was posted on the social media accounts maintained by Lula, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, saying that the family “is grateful for all the expressions of love and support” from the public.
The family did not confirm Rocco’s death, but it said relatives had authorized “the donation of her organs.”
Rocco was hospitalized in Sao Paulo on Jan. 24 after an aneurysm in her brain ruptured and had been in a medically induced coma since then.
The former first lady’s doctors said Wednesday that her condition was “irreversible.”
Lula and Rocco met in 1973, after each had been widowed, and they wed seven months later.
Rocco faced charges along with her husband for allegedly accepting bribes and favors from construction giant Odebrecht, one of the companies implicated in a $2 billion scandal centered on state oil company Petrobras.
Despite his legal problems, the still-popular Lula has suggested more than once that he may be a candidate in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election.