BEIRUT: Politicians and citizens mourned the death of former MP Samir Frangieh, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 71 following a prolonged battle with cancer. The former MP from the northern district of Zgharta passed away at the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Beirut.
He first ran for parliamentary elections in 2000 but failed to garner the votes needed to guarantee the seat.
He was elected in 2005 but did not run in the most recent polls in 2009.
“Comrade Samir Frangieh remained loyal to the principles and pillars of the Cedar Revolution,” Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in a statement. “Despite all the threats and challenges, he never changed his path and his steadfast [commitment] to sovereignty, independence [and] coexistence until the last breath of his life.”
Frangieh played a substantial part in the so-called 2005 Cedar Revolution, the series of protests that erupted in the wake of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The massive demonstrations toppled the government and led to the eventual withdrawal of Syrian armed forces from Lebanese territories.
“We miss Samir Frangieh, the son of a nationalist household and the possessor of clear thought and insightful vision, who has defended ... Lebanon and has always been distinguished by his respect for the opinion of others and his appreciation [of it],” ex-premier Minister Najib Mikati said via Twitter.
“Goodbye Samir,” PSP head MP Walid Jumblatt said via Twitter. “Goodbye, my best partner and friend. Goodbye to the knight of peace, love and dialogue. Goodbye to a pillar among the pillars of the Cedar Revolution.”
Ordinary citizens also took to social media to express their grief at the loss of a man who many considered to be one of Lebanon’s few upstanding politicians.
“#Samir_Frangieh ... a man who held a torch in the darkness of hearts to light the path towards peace in Lebanon,” Ali al-Amin said via Twitter.
Twitter user Ousama Abdelwaher said he considered Frangieh’s death to be equally “the death of [the] March 14 [Coalition].”