Pope mourns billionaire salmon mogul and President, dead at 74

Editorial Staff

Pope Francis has expressed his condolences for the “tragic death” of the former President.

Chile’s former president, Sebastián Piñera Echeñique, aged 74, died in a helicopter crash last week.

The accident occurred over Lake Lago Ranco in the Los Ríos region, approximately 780 kilometers south of Santiago. Three other passengers, including his sister, were seriously injured.

Piñera was a prominent figure in the Chilean salmon industry, having been one of the major owners of Antarfish, which controlled the salmon producer Aguas Claras. In 2005, AquaChile bought out Piñera and his partners, making it the largest salmon producer in Chile and one of the largest in the world.

Piñera, who represented the right-wing Renovación Nacional party, was president of Chile for two terms (2010-2014 and 2018-2022) and was known for his efforts to restore democracy in the country, particularly for his opposition to General Augusto Pinochet’s regime.

The Chilean Salmon Council (Consejo del Salmón) praised Piñera in their obituary for his contributions to democracy and his efforts to foster a public-private alliance in the country. In response to his death, Chile’s current president, Gabriel Boric, declared three days of national mourning and announced a state-funded funeral.

Pope Francis expressed his condolences for the “tragic death” of the former President.

In a telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and addressed to Chile’s President Gabriel Boric, the Holy Father prayed for the eternal repose of the former Head of State.

The Pope recalled the President who had led the country as “a man of faith,” of great “intellect,” and of “sincere passion” for Chilean political life.

He expressed his closeness to the former Head of State’s family and all those who mourn his loss.


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