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Colombia's defense minister dies from COVID-19 at age 69

In this Oct. 9, 2019 file photo, Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo speaks to reporters after a bilateral meeting at the Department of State in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Colombian officials say Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has died from complications of COVID-19. He was 69.

    President Ivan Duque said that Holmes Trujillo died early Tuesday, adding that he "couldn't express the pain" he was feeling over the news. He offered his condolences to Holmes Trujillo's wife, children and other family members.

    "His life was a reflection of his vocation for public service," Duque said.

    Holmes Trujillo became defense minister in November 2019, after serving as foreign minister. He was also the mayor of Cali from 1988-1990.

    Colombia has recorded more than 50,000 deaths from COVID-19. Coronavirus infections have increased dramatically in the South American country since the Christmas holidays, with more than 15,000 new cases per day reported in the second week of January, compared with about 7,000 cases per day at the start of December.

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