Former Peruvian President Alan Garciahas died after shooting himself in the head on Wednesday as police waited to arrest him in a massive graft probe that is provoked a reckoning over corruption.
The 69-year-old former head of state was rushed to a hospital, where a team of doctors performed emergency surgery but reportedly suffered multiple cardiac arrests during surgery, and died several hours later.
The former president was one of more than 230 people across Latin America investigated in a corruption case centered on Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. Garcia served as president of Peru from 1985 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2011, had been under investigation for bribery.
The former president was an increasingly isolated figure. As investigators closed in, he argued that he was the victim of false testimony about taking bribes from Odebrecht during the construction of Lima’s metro. He had not been formally charged.
No country outside Brazil has gone as far in prosecuting politicians tied to Odebrecht, which admitted in a 2016 plea agreement that it paid nearly $800 million throughout Latin America in exchange for lucrative public-works contracts.
The former leader sought asylum in Uruguay last November, after a judge barred him from leaving Peru for 18 months. The asylum request was denied, and a judge in Lima ordered his detention on Tuesday.
Garcia was born into a middle-class family in the capital, the child of a politician father whose party became Garcia’s own. He went on to a career marked by epic triumphs and devastating setbacks, a rollercoaster of a political life fueled by his charisma and capacity for reinvention.