Vietnam President Quang dead - state media

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Vietnamese ceremonial President Tran Dai Quang has died in a military hospital at the age of 61, Vietnamnews.vn reported.

Mr. Quang died at a military hospital in Hanoi; the statement didn't elaborate on his illness.

In contrast to his reputation as tough and influential in the inner circles of the communist party, Quang, a member of the Politburo, often appeared uncomfortable in the public eye, and would read prepared scripts.

According to the Associated Press, Quang hadn't attended public events for nearly a month a year ago, raising concerns over his health. After a almost one-month disappearance, he met Herminio Lopez Diaz, the departing Cuban ambassador, in Hanoi in August.

At one of his last appearances was during a visit by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Hanoi on September 11.

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Quang was born in the northern rural province of Ninh Binh.

"President Quang's legacy is a multi-year crackdown on human rights and putting more political prisoners behind bars in Vietnam than any time in recent memory", said Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director, Human Rights Watch.

He hosted US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at an APEC meeting in November past year. It is officially led by four "pillars": its president, prime minister, the chief of its Communist Party and the national assembly chair.

He served as Deputy Minister of Public Security from 2006 to August 2011, and Minister from August 2011 to March 2016.

Quang's death isn't expected to alter the government's economic policies, Sitkoff said.

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