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Fernando Poe Jr. Dies; Filipino Film Star, Presidential Hopeful

Associated Press
Tuesday, December 14, 2004; Page B06

Fernando Poe Jr., 65, the Filipino action film star and presidential candidate who refused to concede May's election, died just after midnight Dec. 12 U.S. time at a hospital in Quezon City after a stroke.

Known as "Da King" while starring in more than 200 action films, Mr. Poe was a political neophyte who tried to emulate his friend Joseph Estrada's 1998 presidential victory by banking on his popularity among impoverished Filipinos for his portrayals of punch-throwing, horse-riding underdog champions of the poor.

Fernando Poe Jr. narrowly lost a presidential bid.

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Mr. Poe was a formidable opponent for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who took over in January 2001 when Estrada was forced out by mass protests over alleged corruption.

He was the main challenger to Arroyo in the May 10 election but lost by 1.1 million votes. Mr. Poe's campaign suffered from poor organization and questions over his citizenship. Two months after the election, Mr. Poe filed a court challenge, claiming he was cheated.

Arroyo's camp has denied wrongdoing and expressed confidence that the court will toss out Mr. Poe's protest, which could take years to resolve.

Estrada, who is being tried for corruption, was allowed briefly out of detention to visit Mr. Poe in the hospital.

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