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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 3 - 6:45 p.m.) Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo has been declared dead after he was taken off life support in London, according to his brother, former first gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo.
He was 61.
Earlier, Iggy's chief of staff, Edgar Ruado, said the lawmaker suffered a heart attack at his London residence and was rushed to the hospital.
Initially, Mike Arroyo and leaders of the House of Representatives said Rep. Arroyo had died.
“Maybe there was confusion because when you say one is clinically dead, it would seem that the person is already dead,” Ruado said.
Ruado said Arroyo’s partner, Grace Ibuna, was with him in London.
Arroyo had been in London since late last year seeking treatment for liver ailment. He had been a member of the House of Representatives since 2004 as representative of the province’s fifth district.
He has figured in controversy shielding his brother, first, over the Jose Pidal bank account, and second, over the issue of the used helicopter sold to the Philippine National Police.
In 2003, when Mike was being accused by Senator Panfilo Lacson of keeping the multimillion-peso Jose Pidal accounts, Iggy also came to his brother's rescue. He said he and not his brother was Jose Pidal.
Iggy said that he had opened the Pidal accounts in UnionBank of the Philippines and BPI Family Bank for security reasons.
He explained that he chose "Jose" because it was a common name and "Pidal" because it is the maiden name of his great-grandmother Maria.
Last year, Iggy was called to a Senate hearing for taking up the cudgels anew for his brother when he said that the owner of the used choppers that were sold to the PNP as brand new was not his brother but helicopter dealer Lionair Inc.
In a statement issued to media, Iggy had said that the Arroyo family firm, LTA (Lourdes T. De Arroyo) Inc., only leased the helicopters from the owner through an agreement with Archibald Po, the president of Lionair.
Born in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, Iggy Arroyo graduated from the University of San Francisco in California with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.