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Brazilian Ex-President Franco Dies at 81

Former Brazilian president Itamar Franco, Sept 14, 2000 (file photo)

Itamar Franco, Brazil's president in the early 1990s, has died after a battle with leukemia.

Franco died Saturday at Albert Einstein Hospital in the city of Sao Paulo after becoming sick with pneumonia. He was 81.

Franco is known as the leader who helped put an end to runaway inflation in Brazil. He instituted a program called the Real Plan, which is credited with stabilizing the nation's economy.

Franco served as president from 1992 to 1994, rising from the post of vice president after his predecessor Fernando Collor de Mello resigned to avoid being impeached on corruption charges.

Franco later served as governor in his home state of Minas Gerais and as a senator from the state. He was still a senator at the time of his death.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.