File photo: Carlos Holmes Trujillo speaks during an interview with Reuters in Bogota, Colombia August 30, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )
Vaccination still hasn't begun in the country of about 50 million people, which has recorded more than 50,000 deaths from Covid-19 and more than 2 million cases.
Colombia’s defence minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has died from viral pneumonia related to Covid-19, the government said on Tuesday.
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“The death of Carlos Holmes fills me with pain,” a visibly moved President Ivan Duque said. “Colombia has lost one of its best men.”
Trujillo is the highest-ranking Colombian official and one of nearly a dozen sitting Cabinet ministers worldwide to have succumbed to the virus that has killed at least 2.1 million people since the outbreak began in China in December 2019.
Trujillo's death prompted messages of grief and sympathy from near and far, even the government of the United States and the UN.
Trujillo became defence minister in November 2019, after serving as foreign minister. He was also the mayor of Cali from 1988-1990 and held several ministerial and diplomatic positions during his decades-long political career.
Other notable Colombians infected with coronavirus include first lady Maria Juliana Ruiz, who tested positive in November, and vice-president Marta Lucia Ramirez, who tested positive in October.
Colombia has reported more than two million coronavirus infections, as well as close to 52,000 deaths due to Covid-19, the disease it causes.
(With inputs from agencies)