updated 8/14/2003 3:29:20 AM ET 2003-08-14T07:29:20

A 54-year-old doctor died of SARS on Wednesday, becoming the 44th person killed by the pneumonia-like illness in Canada and the second to die this week.Dr. Nestor Yanga contracted severe acute respiratory syndrome in April, health officials said. Two other health-care workers, both nurses, previously died of the illness.

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“I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and patients of this family physician who worked so tirelessly for all of us,” Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement said in a statement.

On Monday, a 44-year-old patient died of SARS in Toronto.

Eight people remain hospitalized with severe acute respiratory syndrome in Toronto, where almost 250 cases were recorded in two outbreaks earlier this year.

The latest deaths come nearly six weeks after the World Health Organization removed Toronto from its list of SARS-infected areas, saying the city had contained the outbreak.

SARS emerged in November in Guangdong province in southern China. It killed more than 800 people worldwide, most of them in Asia, before subsiding last month, according to WHO.

Toronto had the biggest outbreak outside of Asia.

The outbreak caused major economic damage to the tourism industry in Toronto and southern Ontario, with hotels, airlines and restaurants reporting decreased business.

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