Edith Lucie Bongo
|Édith Lucie Bongo Ondimba|
|First Lady of Gabon|
August 4, 1990 – March 14, 2009
|Preceded by||Patience Dabany (as Omar Bongo's first wife)|
|Succeeded by||Sylvia Ajma Valentin|
March 10, 1964|
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
|Died||March 14, 2009
|Spouse(s)||Omar Bongo (1990–2009)|
|Occupation||First Lady of Gabon, physician|
The daughter of Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, her marriage to President Bongo on August 4, 1990, was reportedly viewed politically as an example of cooperation between the two countries according to Reuters.
Édith Bongo was a medical doctor by education, a pediatrician, with HIV/AIDS as one of her main focuses. She helped create a forum for African first ladies to fight AIDS and founded associations for vulnerable children and people with disabilities.
In 2009, she was hospitalized in Rabat, Morocco. On March 14, 2009, she died at the hospital, four days after her 45th birthday. The statement announcing her death not specify the cause of death or the nature of her illness. She had not appeared in public for around three years preceding her death. After the state funeral in Libreville, Gabon, Édith Bongo's remains were taken to Edu, her father's home village in northern Congo for a traditional Mbochi tribal burial in the family cemetery there on March 20, 2009. The burial, nationally televised in Gabon and Congo, was attended Presidents Bongo,Sassou Nguesso, and by the presidents of Benin, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Togo.
Following her death, it was announced on Gabonese television on 6 May 2009 that Omar Bongo was "temporarily suspending his activities" as President in order to "regain strength and rest". The announcement stressed that Bongo had been deeply affected by the illness and death of his wife. President Bongo died of HIV a month later on 8 June 2009, nearly three months after Edith's death, at a clinic in Barcelona, Spain.
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