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May 22, 2008 (DVB), Karen National Union chairperson Pado Saw Ba Thin Sein died at 2am this morning on territory controlled by the KNU, one of his colleagues told DVB.
Saw David Takabaw, joint general secretary of the KNU, said efforts to save Pado Ba Thin's life were unsuccessful.
"He had diabetes. He had also been suffering from lung and heart diseases," Saw David Takabaw said.
"We took him to the hospital but we couldn't save his life anymore so we brought him back to our place."
Pado Ba Thin joined the Karen revolution at its beginning in 1949, and devoted his whole life to the Karen people.
"We are very sorry about his passing. It is a great loss for us since he was very loyal to the struggle, he led the KNU as the Chairperson even though he wasn't very well," continued Saw David Takabaw.
DVB has also learnt that general Tamalarbaw will take over as acting chairperson for the KNU until the next KNU Congress when a new leader will be elected.
Pado Saw Ba Thin Sein is survived by his wife Naw Ohn Myaing, a son and three daughters.
Brief biography of Pado Saw Ba Thin Sein
March 11, 1927 Born in Hinthata, Irrawaddy division, to Saw Ba Sein and Naw Thin Myat, the second son among nine siblings
1946 Graduated from high school at American Mission School in Hinthata
1949 Joined the Karen Revolution
1963 Central Committee Member, KNU
1970-71 Chairperson, Margue-Tavoy District, KNU
1978 In charge of Education and Cultural Departments, KNU
1983 General Secretary, KNU
2000-May 2008 Chairperson, KNU
Reporting by Naw Say Phaw