Papua New Guinea’s first prime minister critically ill

Papua New Guinea’s first prime minister, Michael Somare, was in critical condition in a hospital over the weekend with pancreatic cancer, his family said.

The family revealed in a statement on Sunday that the 84-year-old was undergoing palliative care in the national capital, Port Moresby. His daughter Betha Somare did not respond to a request for an update on his condition on Tuesday.

Somare was pivotal in the South Pacific nation’s move to independence from Australia and was the country’s first prime minister from 1975 to 1980.

He was prime minister for a total of 16 years over three separate stints before retiring from politics in 2017.

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