Sampaio was PS leader from 1989 to 1992 and mayor of Lisbon from 1990 to 1995, and served as Portugal's head of state for two terms, from 1996 to 2006.
The Party of European Socialists (PES) on Friday expressed its sadness at the news of the death of Jorge Sampaio, a former president of Portugal, whom it described as “a proponent of progressive governments”.
In a statement on the social network Twitter, the PES published a post in English that ends with the emblematic phrase in English: “25 de Abril, sempre!” (25 of April, always!) – a popular phrase that originated with Sampaio himself, referring to the 1974 coup that ushered in democracy in Portugal.
The PES also shared a post by the delegation of Portugal’s Socialist Party (PS) in the European Parliament that laments the disappearance of “a good, cultured man” known for displaying solidarity.
“He was a pillar of our democracy, a man of solidarity,” the PS post reads. “A pillar of our democracy, a convinced socialist and a defender of the European project. A great President of the Republic and a fighter for understanding between peoples.”
Sampaio died on Friday at the age of 81. He had been in hospital in Lisbon since August 27, where he was taken after suffering from respiratory difficulties while in the Algarve.
Sampaio was PS leader from 1989 to 1992 and mayor of Lisbon from 1990 to 1995, and served as Portugal’s head of state for two terms, from 1996 to 2006.
After stepping down, he was in 2006 appointed by the then secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, as his Special Envoy for the Fight against Tuberculosis. Between 2007 and 2013 he was also UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations.
Until his death he was chair of the Global Platform for Syrian Students, which he himself had founded in 2013 with the aim of contributing to respond to the academic emergency that the conflict in Syria had created, leaving thousands of young people from that country without access to education.