Ousted Haitian Dictator Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier Dies

The ex-leader who ruled by brutality and fear suffered a fatal heart attack at age 63.

Jean-Claude “Baby Doc" Duvalier, who presided over Haiti as the self-proclaimed “president for life” from 1971 until he fled the country in 1986, died of a heart attack last Saturday, his attorney, Reynold George, recently confirmed.

AP reports that the 63-year-old former leader passed away at a friend’s home in the country's capital, Port-au-Prince.

President Michel Martelly expressed his “sincere condolences” to Duvalier’s family and the nation, referring to Duvalier on Twitter as “an authentic son of Haiti.”

"Love and reconciliation must always prevail over our internal quarrels. May he rest in peace," wrote Martelly, who insisted on honoring Duvalier “despite our quarrels and our differences.”

At 19, Duvalier became the world’s youngest president after succeeding his father, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who suddenly died of an illness. Both leaders led corrupt and brutal regimes in the impoverished country, which included torturing and killing political opponents and stealing government revenue.

Driven out by nationwide riots protesting his failure to address illiteracy and poverty, Duvalier escaped to France in 1986.

He returned to Haiti in 2011, moved into a wealthy suburb above the capital and was briefly detained.

Human rights activists claim that an estimated 30,000 people were killed during the 30-year reign of the Duvalier father and son dictatorship, Al Jazeera reports.

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 (Photo: Lee Celano/Getty Images) 

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