World leaders and dignitaries including Pope Benedict are expressing
sadness at the passing of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino
The woman who led protests to restore democracy in her country died Saturday of cardio-respiratory arrest. The 76-year old Mrs. Aquino had battled colon cancer for over a year.
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said during a visit to Washington that with Mrs. Aquino's passing the Philippines lost its national treasure.
U.S. President Barack Obama expressed deep sadness at the passing of Mrs. Aquino. He also extended his condolences to her family and the people of the Philippines. Leaders from many countries said Mrs. Aquino will be remembered for ushering in a new era of freedom in the Philippines, after years of authoritarian rule.
Philippine citizens could bid farewell to the beloved leader at a school gymnasium in the capital, Manila, where her casket was brought for public viewing Saturday.
Pope Benedict also expressed "profound sadness" about Mrs. Aquino's death.
Her son, Senator Benigno Aquino, said the former president will be buried in a private church ceremony, instead of a state funeral. The Aquinos are Roman Catholic.
In 1986, Corazon Aquino led millions of people in a peaceful post-election uprising against leader Ferdinand Marcos.
The "people power" revolt put an end to his two-decade dictatorship and inspired other non-violent protests around the world, notably those that ended Communist rule in eastern Europe.
Soon after Mrs. Aquino's death was reported, her supporters posted tributes on the Internet through the social networking site Twitter. Many said they would wear yellow in her honor. During the protests of 1986, she often wore a bright yellow dress.
While serving as president in the Philippines until 1992, she fought off more than a half-dozen coup attempts.
She was the widow of late opposition leader Benigno Aquino, who was assassinated after returning from exile in 1983.