Jose Lopez Portillo, 83, president of Mexico from 1976 to 1982, who tried to expand his nation's income by increasing its oil production but left office with the economy staggering and his reputation tarnished, died Feb. 17 in Mexico City.
Medical officials said the former president, who had been in poor health in recent years, died at a hospital, where he was under treatment for pneumonia, according to the Associated Press.
Mr. Lopez Portillo belonged to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for 71 years, from 1929 until the election of the current president, Vicente Fox.
Although Mr. Lopez Portillo was credited with efforts to raise his country's living standard by creating jobs through encouragement of private investment, his programs ultimately were said to have left things worse than when he took office.
A December 1982 editorial in The Washington Post said he had hoped to use his nation's new oil revenue -- from development of newfound reserves -- to achieve growth and prosperity.
But, the editorial said, things got out of hand, "with borrowing running far ahead of earning capacity." The collapse of world oil prices made matters worse.
As his term ended, the editorial asserted, it was with "corruption spreading rapidly." His successor, Miguel de la Madrid, promised to promote "moral renovation."
Four years after he left office, Mr. Lopez Portillo, who was not charged with crimes, defended himself against accusations of venality in his administration.
A newspaper had quoted the president of Honduras, Jose Azcona, as saying that Mr. Lopez Portillo "banked $100 million or $1 billion" during his years at the top.
Mr. Lopez Portillo called reports linking him to any siphoning of funds by those under him "lies and calumny."
In politics, Mr. Lopez Portillo was credited with an effort to widen representation in government. Expanding the chamber of deputies, he set aside at least 100 seats -- a minimum of 25 percent -- for minority parties.
Nevertheless, students of Mexican affairs found Mr. Lopez Portillo to have done little to wipe away the taint of corruption and autocratic rule that ultimately led to the PRI's defeat.
Mr. Lopez Portillo was born June 16, 1920, in Mexico City and was educated in Mexico and Chile. A lawyer, economist and author, he rose to become finance minister in the early 1970s and was credited with curbing spending and reforming tax collection.
Shortly after he left office, according to the AP, Mr. Lopez Portillo divorced his first wife, Carmen, with whom he had three children. He had a relationship with but apparently did not marry his former tourism secretary, Rosa Luz Alegria, while he lived in Spain. After they split up, he married and had two children with former actress Sasha Montenegro. They returned to Mexico and later separated.