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Brazilian mayor, elected in November while in a COVID-19 coma, dies

Vilela’s surprise election from his hospital bed made international headlines, a vivid example of the reach of the pandemic in Brazil.

RIO DE JANEIRO—Maguito Vilela, the Brazilian politician who was elected mayor of the city of Goiânia while in a coma due to COVID-19, has died from complications to the disease, it was announced on his personal Instagram account on Wednesday.

“It is with deep regret that we report the death of the mayor of Goiânia, Maguito Vilela, which occurred this morning,” the statement said. Local media said he was 71.

Maguito Vilela.
Maguito Vilela.via Facebook

Vilela’s surprise election from his hospital bed made international headlines. It was a vivid example of the reach ofthe coronavirus pandemic in Brazil, which has the world’s worst COVID-19 death toll outside the United States. Nearly 205,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, with 8.2 million people infected with the virus.

A former senator from the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement party, Vilela tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 20. A week later, he arrived at Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Hospital, and has spent most of his time there either intubated, or in an induced coma.

In November, he was elected mayor of Goiânia, a city of 1.5 million people in central Brazil. He won 52.6% of the vote.

“The family is providing the transfer of the body from São Paulo to Goiás and he must be buried in Jataí, his native land,” the Instagram statement said.

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