Brazil’s iconic chief Raoni to leave hospital Saturday

Brasília (AFP)

Brazil’s best-known indigenous leader, chief Raoni Metuktire, is set to be released from hospital Saturday after a health scare, officials said.

“We can confirm he will be released Saturday,” a spokeswoman from the Dois Pinheiros Hospital in the central-western city of Sinop told AFP on Friday.

Chief Raoni Metuktire, pictured receiving a visit from state government officials, was hospitalized last week for weakness, shortness of breath and diarrhea
Chief Raoni Metuktire, pictured receiving a visit from state government officials, was hospitalized last week for weakness, shortness of breath and diarrhea Christiano Antonucci Mato Grosso State Communication Department/AFP/File

Raoni, an iconic defender of the Amazon rainforest who is in his 90s, was hospitalized last week for weakness, shortness of breath and diarrhea, then transferred to the larger Dois Pinheiros hospital when his condition deteriorated.

He was diagnosed with gastric ulcers, an inflamed colon and an intestinal infection.

Raoni’s health began to decline after he lost his wife of more than 60 years, Bekwyjka, who died in June after a stroke.

Known for his colorful feather headdresses and the large disc inserted in his lower lip, Raoni, a chief of the Kayapo people, has traveled the world raising awareness of the threat posed by destruction of the Amazon.

“Chief Raoni will be returning to his village” in the rainforest, Metuktire, his foundation, said on Twitter.

“We thank everyone for their support.”

The hospital said Raoni’s medical team and family would hold a press conference Saturday, but that it was not yet confirmed whether the chief would take part.

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