Subject: Former journo Chris Santos dies in Timor

Herald Sun

Former journo dies in Timor

September 03, 2007 12:00am

A FORMER Melbourne newspaper man who became a key adviser to East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta has died of a sudden illness in Dili.

Chris Santos, a former senior journalist at The Sun, fell ill in the East Timorese capital on Friday morning and died a short time later. He was 59 years old.

Portuguese-born Mr Santos trained as a journalist and travelled to East Timor just before the Portuguese relinquished it as a colony in 1975.

He became a member of the Fretilin independence movement during that year's civil war, which preceded the Indonesian invasion months later.

Mr Santos, who had become Fretilin's information officer, was forced to flee to Australia just before the invasion.

He became a respected Melbourne journalist and held senior positions at The Sun before undertaking various political advisory roles in Victoria.

He became a close associate of Mr Ramos Horta during this time and returned to East Timor after the country voted for independence in 1999.

When Mr Ramos Horta became East Timor's Prime Minister in 2006, Mr Santos became his special adviser, and remained in that position when Mr Horta was elected President earlier this year.

Mr Santos' body is being flown back to his family in Melbourne for a funeral tomorrow.

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