Trinidad and Tobago's first president dies

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, December 31, 2010 – Trinidad and Tobago’s first president Sir Ellis Clarke died last night, a month after suffering a stroke that his family said he never recovered from. His death came two days after he reached his 93rd birthday.

Sir Ellis took his last breath just before 8 pm at his home, according to a statement from the family.

He suffered a massive stroke on November 24 and after two and a half weeks of hospitalization, was back home where he received round the clock medical care.

On Sir Ellis’ birthday on Tuesday, relatives arranged a special lunchtime mass at his residence.

In the brief statement following his death, the family thanked all those who had offered prayers and best wishes during Sir Ellis’ ill health.

Sir Ellis, a lawyer, was one of the main architects of Trinidad and Tobago’s Independence Constitution and was also the last of the two Governor Generals the country had before it became a Republic in 1976. He then served as President for two terms, ending 1987. 

During his illustrious career, Sir Ellis also served as Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico, and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Sir Ellis, whose wife died in 2002, leaves two children – Peter and Margaret-Ann – and five grandchildren.

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