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Once sailor, forever sailor

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Vietnam defence minister dies in France after cancer treatment

Hanoi (dpa) - Vietnam's Minister of Defence died on Sunday at a French hospital where he was being treated for lung cancer, a military source said.

General Phung Quang Thanh, who was 66, was considered a rising star in the Vietnamese Communist Party before his illness. 

He died Sunday at Georges Pompidou Hospital, the military source told dpa. The source declined to be named as he is not authorized to tell media.

Rumours about Thanh's illness began circulating with his absence from recent army events. In early July, Pham Gia Khai, a member of the Board for Protection and Care of the Health of Central-Level Officials, confirmed that Thanh was recovering from surgery for a lung tumor in France. He said that the general's condition was good and that he would return to Vietnam in two weeks.

Thanh had been considered a likely candidate to take up the position of Vietnamese president at the country's next party congress, sources said.

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