Former Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, who belonged to one of the country’s most prominent political families and during his term pushed back against China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea, died on Thursday in Manila. He was 61 years old.
Mr. Aquino’s family said he died peacefully in his sleep due to “renal disease secondary to diabetes.” Tributes to the former leader, popularly known as “Noynoy,” poured out on social media on Thursday and a spokesman for current President Rodrigo Duterte offered condolences on behalf of the government.
“We’re grateful to the former president for his contributions and services to the country. Rest in peace, Mr. President,” the spokesman said.
Mr. Aquino served as Philippine president from 2010 to 2016. His administration brought an unprecedented arbitration case challenging Beijing’s claim to historic and economic rights in the South China Sea.
The tribunal at The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague held in a landmark 2016 decision that China’s claim had no legal basis.