Colombian Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has died following an infection with COVID-19.
“It is with deep pain and sadness that I received the news of the death of our Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo,” Colombia’s President Ivan Duque said in a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday.
Holmes Trujillo died early in the morning after health complications while fighting COVID-19, Duque said.
Holmes Trujillo had been suffering from pneumonia, according to local media reports.
The minister, 69, was hospitalised two weeks ago in Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast after contracting the virus.
He was transferred to the central military hospital in Bogota a day later.
Colombia’s presidency confirmed that he was in intensive care.
Holmes Trujillo, a former foreign minister, was appointed defence minister in the Duque government in 2019.
He served in a series of senior posts, including as mayor of Cali; interior minister and ambassador to the European Union, among other roles.
Holmes Trujillo, who was descended from a family of politicians, had also stood as a presidential candidate and was planning to stand again in 2022, according to media reports, when the country is due to conduct presidential and parliamentary elections.
The defence ministry is considered one of the most important in the country due ongoing fighting with guerrilla movements and powerful criminal gangs.