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Zapatista Rebels Announce Death of Female Leader Comandante Ramona

Rebel sources in Mexico say a female leader of the Zapatista rebel movement has died.

Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos Friday announced the death of Comandante Ramona, saying Mexico had lost a fighter and the Zapatistas had lost a piece of their heart.

The announcement came during a stop in Chiapas, six days into the leader's nationwide tour.

The nature of Comandante Ramona's death was not immediately clear, but it was rumored that she had cancer or a kidney disease. She had once received a kidney transplant.

The mysterious female leader was a Tzotzil Indian and a promoter of women's rights. She was a longtime member of the Zapatista movement and appeared in public wearing a black ski mask.

On January 1, Subcomandante Marcos emerged from his jungle hideout to begin a six-month nationwide tour in a bid to influence this year's presidential elections.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, and Reuters.