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August 17, 2022



Florin Cioabă, "King of the Roma" and president of the International Romani Union, has passed away

Antalya, Turkey, 19.8.2013 4:03, (ROMEA)
Florin Cioabă (PHOTO:  International Romani Union)
Florin Cioabă (PHOTO: International Romani Union)

Florin Cioabă, the self-proclaimed "King of the Roma" worldwide, passed away on 18 August in a hospital in the Turkish city of Antalya. The 58-year-old had been admitted to the hospital there last Tuesday in very serious condition.

Agence France-Presse reports that, according to the Romanian media, Cioabă suffered a heart attack last Tuesday. He was in Antalya on vacation.

Florin Cioabă was the son of a recognized Roma leader, Ion Cioabă, who once contemplated running for president of Romania. Florin declared himself the "King of the Roma" worldwide in 1997. 

In 2003, Florin Cioabă sparked controversy when he married his 12-year-old daughter to a Roma boy aged 15. Following a wave of criticism, however, he pledged to work to uproot the widespread tradition of child marriages among the Roma.

Florin Cioabă also encouraged Roma families to send their children to school in a bid to fight poverty stemming from a lack of education. In 2004 he ran for a seat in Romania's parliament but did not garner enough votes. Romanian President Traian Basescu, who on several occasions joined Cioaba during Roma festivities, has sent condolences to his family.

Florin Cioabă was elected president of the International Romani Union this past April. According to official data, there are 619 000 Roma people living in Romania, but unofficial data estimate there are actually as many as 2 million.

ČTK, ryz, AFP, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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