Obituaries

Haitian Ex-Leader Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier Dies At 63

Former Haitian President Jean-Paul Duvalier, who spent 25 years in exile after his corrupt regime was overthrown, died Saturday at age 63.

Haitian Ex-Leader Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier Dies At 63
Getty Images / Lee Celano
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Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as "Baby Doc," is dead at the age of 63. According to his attorney, Duvalier died in his Port-au-Prince home from a heart attack Saturday.

Duvalier inherited the Haitian presidency after his father, François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, passed away in 1971. At just 19 years old "Baby Doc" became the youngest world leader when he took up his father's position. (Video via BBC)

Many initially hoped the younger Duvalier would reform his father's regime. Human rights groups say "Papa Doc's" brutal rule, underpinned by the notorious Tonton Macoutes secret police, killed tens of thousands of Haitians.

But despite some cosmetic changes, "Baby Doc" maintained the same authoritarian tactics his father had employed. His lavish lifestyle, in contrast with the growing poverty among his people, quickly earned Duvalier the resentment of many Haitians.

Duvalier's presidency lasted 15 years. He was overthrown by a popular uprising in 1986. The former dictator would spend the next 25 years living in exile in France, before unexpectedly returning to Haiti in 2011, ostensibly to help the country recover from its devastating 2010 earthquake. (Video via CNN)

The former leader was promptly arrested on corruption charges, but his trial stalled and Duvalier lived out the rest of his days in Port-au-Prince under a loosely-enforced house arrest.

One journalist who interviewed the leader-in-exile later wrote in The Washington Post Duvalier was "a man who is by turn intellectually dishonest, manipulative, even downright clueless ... He never uttered a word of remorse and ceded only one major mistake: 'Perhaps I was too tolerant.'"

Duvalier is survived by his second wife, Veronique Roy, and his son and daughter from his first marriage.

This video includes images from Getty Images.