Miriam Defensor Santiago, former senator, dies

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Miriam Defensor Santiago, the feisty, esteemed senator from Iloilo, died at the St Luke's Medical Center Global City on Thursday, September 29. She was 71 years old.

Her daughter-in-law Mechel Santiago confirmed the news to Rappler.

"She died in her sleep this morning," said Santiago's husband, Narciso Santiago Jr, according to dzBB.

Santiago died at exactly 8:52 am Thursday, according to a post in her official Twitter page.

@senmiriam We ask for prayers as her family goes through this difficult time. (2/2) — Miriam Santiago (@senmiriam) September 29, 2016


She is survived by her husband and her son, Narciso Santiago III. Her youngest son, Alexander Robert, died in 2003. (Read Santiago's obituary: Miriam Defensor Santiago: God is not out there but in you)

Santiago, who ran for president in May, had been battling lung cancer since 2014.

When she first announced that she had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in July 2014, Santiago was optimistic that – like her other battles in life – she could beat the disease.

"I'm not afraid of cancer. There is nothing I'm afraid of," Santiago said then. 

She filed her certificate of candidacy for president in October 2015 after saying that her cancer was “controlled,” and her condition “stable.” Santiago ran alongside then Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, but only joined a few sorties towards the end of the campaign period. (READ: Miriam Santiago: Like Jimmy Carter, I can beat cancer Rappler.com