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Former Mexican President Dies - 2004-02-18

Former Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillio has died at the age of 83. Mr. Lopez Portillio, who served as president from 1976 to 1982, died Tuesday at a Mexico City hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia.

When he took office, Mexico was wallowing in one its worst recessions. Mr. Lopez Portillo tried to expand his nation's income by increasing oil production.

But when world crude oil market crashed in the early 1980's, the Mexican economy was left in worse shape than before.

By the time Mr. Lopez Portillo left office, Mexico was deeply in debt and the Peso was badly devalued. There was also rampant corruption during his rule.

In recent years he had developed a heart condition for which he underwent a heart bypass operation in 2001.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.