x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 October 2017

Tunisia health minister Slim Chaker dies after charity marathon

The 56-year-old fell ill after running some 500 metres and then making a speech at the start of a race in the coastal town of Nabeul, aimed at raising funds to build a clinic for children with cancer, his ministry said

Tunisian health minister Slim Chaker (centre), who died on October 8, 2017, is seen here attending a parliamentary session in Tunis on September 11, 2017. Fethi Belaid / AFP
Tunisian health minister Slim Chaker (centre), who died on October 8, 2017, is seen here attending a parliamentary session in Tunis on September 11, 2017. Fethi Belaid / AFP

Tunisia's health minister died of a heart attack on Sunday after taking part in a charity marathon to help battle cancer.

Slim Chaker, 56, fell ill after running some 500 metres and then making a speech at the start of a race in the coastal town of Nabeul, aimed at raising funds to build a clinic for children with cancer, his ministry said.

He died later at a military hospital in Tunis.

"I have lost a brother and a colleague," prime minister Youssef Chahed wrote on Facebook.

"He died doing a noble humanitarian act."

Local media and internet users reacted with sorrow to the passing of Chaker, a former adviser to president Beji Caid Essebsi who only took over the health brief last month.

"He has paid in blood for his patriotic work," Tunisian magazine Leader wrote on Twitter.

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