Former foreign minister and Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan died of an acute heart attack on Thursday. He was 68.
Surin collapsed while preparing to speak at the Thailand Halal Assembly 2017 at Bitec in Bang Na.
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He was rushed to Ramkhamhaeng Hospital and later pronounced dead at 3.07pm.
Surin was born on Oct 28, 1949 in Muang district, Nakhon Si Thammarat. He graduated from Claremont College in California in political science in 1972 and earned a master's degree and a doctoral degree from Harvard University.
He entered politics in 1986 as a Democrat Party candidate and won a seat in his hometown in Nakhon Si Thammarat in all contests from 1986 to 2005.
Surin was the deputy foreign minister from 1992-95 and rose to become the foreign minister from 1997 to 2001 under the premiership of Chuan Leekpai. He was the second Thai to become the Asean secretary-general during which he served in Jakarta in 2008 for a five-year term before rejoining the Democrat party. The first Thai to take the position was Phan Wannamethee during 1984-86.
A former Bangkok Post columnist, Surin was a speaker at the Bangkok Post Forum on Nov 16 this year. He was expected to run for Bangkok governor when elections are allowed.
People can pay their last respects at his house on Soi Pitsuwan, tambon Sai Ma, Muang district, Nonthaburi province, from Thursday to Friday at noon.The religious ceremony is held all night.