Peru's ex-President Garcia dies after shooting himself to avoid arrest

In Summary

• Garcia, who had repeatedly denied wrongdoing, was 69.

• President Martin Vizcarra said on Twitter that he was "consternated"

Alan Garcia
Alan Garcia
Image: REUTERS

 Peru's former president Alan Garcia died in a hospital in Lima on Wednesday after shooting himself as police arrived at his house to arrest him in connection with a bribery probe, authorities said on Wednesday.

Garcia, who had repeatedly denied wrongdoing, was 69.

President Martin Vizcarra said on Twitter that he was "consternated" by Garcia's death, and sent his condolences to his family members. 

Local TV channel America had earlier reported Garcia was in a coma and broadcast images of Garcia's son, supporters and lawmakers entering the hospital, where police in riot gear stood by.

Garcia, a skilled orator who has led Peru's once-powerful Apra party for decades, governed as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 before remaking himself as a free-market proponent and winning another five-year term in 2006.

Garcia was under investigation in connection with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which triggered Latin America's biggest graft scandal when it admitted publicly in 2016 that it won lucrative contracts in the region with bribes.

Last year, Garcia asked Uruguay for political asylum after he was banned from leaving the country to keep him from fleeing or obstructing the investigation. Uruguay rejected the request.