A CONTROVERSIAL ex-mayor of Valencia has died of a heart attack in a Madrid hotel.
Rita Barberá, also a senator, has passed away aged 68, two days after giving evidence before the Supreme Court over alleged money laundering during her 24 year reign as mayor.
Medics said they tried to resuscitate her for 30 minutes after getting a call at 7am on Wednesday morning.
The Supreme Court began investigating Barbera in September over her role in an alleged financing network.
A former Partido Popular senator, she resigned her membership
but continued to hold her post as an independent.
Most of her team have also been accused of corruption as part of Operation Taula, in which 24 people were arrested in January.
Reactions to her death have been mixed in political circles.
On social media, PP leader Mariano Rajoy lamented her passing.
Rita Barberá lo dio todo por Valencia y por el Partido Popular. Mi sentido pésame a su familia. Descanse en paz. MR
— Mariano Rajoy Brey (@marianorajoy) November 23, 2016
But Pablo Iglesias, Podemos leader, refused to participate in a one minute’s silence held in Madrid’s Pleno del Congreso de los Diputados.
“We lament the death of Barbera but we cannot participate in a political tribute to someone whose trajectory is marked by corruption”, he said in a tweet.
Lamentamos la muerte de Barberá pero no podemos participar en un homenaje político a alguien cuya trayectoria está marcada por la corrupción
— Pablo Iglesias (@Pablo_Iglesias_) November 23, 2016
Susana Diaz, president of the Junta de Andalucia and PSOE leader hopeful , was also guarded in her comments.
She said: ‘When a person dies I only want to give respect and condolences to their family.”