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'Gentleman, statesman' Censu Tabone passes away
Update 3 | President Emeritus Censu Tabone has died, aged 99.
14 March 2012, 12:00am
Tabone, who served in Cabinets under Prime Ministers Gorg Borg Olivier and Eddie Fenech Adami, was elected by Parliament to serve at the Palace between 1989 and 1994.
Tabone served as foreign minister under Eddie Fenech Adami's government in 1987, and minister of labour under Borg Olivier's administration in the 1960's.
Renowned for his charisma, Tabone was an ophthalmic surgen who served for the World Health Organisation in the Far East and in Iraq.
Surrounded by his eight children, 19 grand-children and 24 great-grand children, Censu Tabone and his wife Maria recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Prime Minsiter Lawrence Gonzi, who reacted to the news of Censu Tabone's demise from London, paid tribute to the former Statesman and announced a State Funeral, which details are to be made public in the coming hours.
The Prime Minister said that Censu Tabone's political career which spanned more than 50 years brought a drastic change to Malta's political landscape, by achieving Independence in 1964 and Malta's quest for EU membership.
Gonzi said that Censu Tabone's biggest achievement was regaining Malta's credibility on the international stage when appointed foreign minister in 1987 under a new PN government in 1987 under Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami.
In another statement, the Nationalist Party paid tribute to Censu Tabone, describing him as a 'gentleman politician' who dedicated his life to the people, not only as a doctor, but also as a politician.
The PN saluted Censu Tabone as a true servant of the state, who cared and listened to people, while also putting his country's interest first.
Opposition leader Joseph Muscat said Tabone had always served with humanity and humility throughout his professional and political career.
Alternattiva Demokratika also expressed its condolences to the Tabone family.
AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio said: "We mourn the death of President Censu Tabone, who distinguised himeself as a politician with human qualities, who always remained close to the common people."
The Socjeta Filarmonika Sliema, where Tabone spent 28 years as the Society's President, sent condolences to Tabone's wife Maria and all his family.
In 1994, Tabone was named as President Emeritus Ad Vitam of the Society.
Martin Balzan, president of the Medical Association of Malta, said Tabone - who is an Honorary President of the MAM - will always be remembered as "an exemplary person, who was very polished and diplomatic in his approach, and for this reason commanded great respect amongst the medical profession, the political class and the maltese people in general".
Balzan said the Medical profession will always remain grateful for his great contribution for the setting up of MAM in the mid-1950s.
"In his work an opthalmologist, he led the efforts to the eradication of the blinding eye disease trachoma, both in Malta overseas," Balzan said.