China’s Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo died on Thursday aged 61 after losing a battle with cancer, authorities said, more than a month after he was transferred to a hospital from prison.
The legal bureau in the northeastern city of Shenyang, where he had been hospitalised, confirmed his death in a statement. Chinese judicial bureau says he has died of multiple organ failure.
Liu, China’s most prominent political prisoner, was diagnosed in May after his cancer had entered the final stages and was transferred to the hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang.
Liu’s declining health has become the subject of international attention, with supporters and several foreign governments calling for him to be freed on humanitarian grounds.
Liu, a former professor who helped negotiate with the military for the safe passage of students during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest, was convicted in 2009 of inciting subversion for his role in the “Charter 08” movement calling for political reform and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later while serving his sentence.
Although the Chinese government has repeatedly said it has given Liu first-rate care since his diagnosis, his supporters and international human rights groups have questioned whether he received adequate care during his imprisonment.
Chinese prisons are notorious for their harsh conditions, and it’s common for released prisoners to return to society in a perilously weakened state.