Forty years ago, Yugoslavia's leader Tito died

Published May 4, 2020, 6:47 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Agence France-Presse

The leader of communist Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, died after a long illness on May 4, 1980, just days before his 88th birthday.

The funeral of communist Yugoslavia's leader Josip Broz Tito, on May 8, 1980, in Belgrade (AFP/File / GEORGES BENDRIHEM /  MANILA BULLETI
The funeral of communist Yugoslavia’s leader Josip Broz Tito, on May 8, 1980, in Belgrade (AFP/File / GEORGES BENDRIHEM / MANILA BULLETI

There was an outpouring of emotion over the death of Tito, who refused to let his Balkan country come under the Soviet thumb and kept a federation of different ethnicities and religions together.

Here is an account of his death and his funeral, based on AFP copy from the time.

‘Comrade Tito has died’ 

On Sunday, May 4, Tito is described as being in a “very grave” and “critical” condition in the latest of the bulletins which reported updates on his health since he was admitted to hospital in Ljubljana nearly four months earlier.

The news of his death finally comes in the early evening, in a statement from the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and the Presidency.

Comrade Tito has died.”

It is addressed to “the working class, all the working people and citizens, and all the nations and nationalities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”

At his death, Tito only weighed some 40 kilogrammes (88 pounds).

He had been admitted to hospital in January following circulation problems caused by diabetes and had his left leg amputated, before suffering multiple complications.

The daily health bulletins had described kidney failure, pneumonia, septicaemia, internal bleeding, liver damage and a comatose state.