Former Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej dies | world | Hindustan Times
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Former Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej dies

Samak Sundaravej, a firebrand right-wing politician and TV cooking show host who briefly served as Thailand's prime minister and considered himself a proxy of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra, died of cancer on Tuesday. He was 74.

world Updated: Nov 24, 2009 15:33 IST

Samak Sundaravej, a firebrand right-wing politician and TV cooking show host who briefly served as Thailand's prime minister and considered himself a proxy of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra, died of cancer on Tuesday. He was 74.

Samak died at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok after a long battle with liver cancer, hospital official Navachamol Sangkaew said. Samak had sought treatment for the cancer late last year in the United States and kept a low-profile after returning to Thailand.

Known as a straight-talker with a penchant for the profane, Samak's political career spanned four decades including an incarnation as an anti-communist rabble rouser, but many supporters remembered him best for his TV show called "Tasting and Complaining," a mix of traditional Thai cooking and rants on pet subjects.

Among the first Thai politicians to express their condolences was former Prime Minister Thaksin, who was forced out in a 2006 coup and tweeted about Samak's death from self-imposed exile. He also expressed regret that he could not return to the country to attend the funeral.

Somchai Wongsawat, who replaced Samak as prime minister after serving as his deputy, called him a respectful leader who devoted his whole life to politics and democracy.