Former First Lady, wife of Mário Soares, dies after two weeks in coma

Maria Barroso, wife of former Portuguese president and prime minister Mário Soares, died this morning (Tuesday, July 7) after spending nearly two weeks in a coma at the Cruz Vermelha Hospital in Lisbon.

The 90-year-old’s condition had been described as “irreversible”. She entered a coma on June 25 after sustaining a massive brain hemorrhage from a fall at home.

Since then, her husband Mário Soares was seen visiting her every day and had been described as going through “huge grief”.

The news of Maria Barroso’s death has already led Portugal’s highest officials to lament her loss.

Before being Portugal’s first lady between 1986 and 1996, she was one of the founding members of the Socialist party PS and was an MP following the April 25 Revolution in 1974.

She was also a graduate in Dramatic Arts and Historical-Philosophical Sciences, and built up a career as an actress before moving more seriously into politics.

“Maria Barroso was a cultured and cause-driven woman, and stood out as a fighter for liberty and democracy before and after the April 25 Revolution,” said Portuguese President Cavaco Silva.

“Her love for her country and her dedication to her family are an example to all Portuguese, who today truly grieve the loss of an exemplary personality of our time,” he added.

Portuguese PM Passos Coelho also released a statement, describing Barroso as a person who “dedicated her life to the public cause and others, having fought for principles, values and ideals such as democracy, the respect of human rights and human dignity”.

Maria Barroso was also president of Portugal’s Red Cross between 1997 and 2003.

She was also still part of the administration board of human rights foundation Pro Dignitate, which she founded in 1994.

Her funeral will take place tomorrow (July 8) at Cemitério dos Prazeres in Lisbon, starting at 10am.