Marion Barry dead: Controversial former Washington DC Mayor dies, aged 78

Barry was imprisoned for six months after being filmed smoking crack cocaine

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The Independent Online

Marion Barry, former Washington DC Mayor, died today, aged 78.

His cause of death is not yet known, but he had suffered from several health problems over the years, including diabetes, prostate cancer and kidney ailments.

He was admitted into hospital briefly last week, but was released yesterday. He died at the United Medical Center in Washington.

The civil rights activist served three terms as mayor between 1979 until 1991, before he was imprisoned for six months after being filmed smoking crack cocaine. He also underwent a drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme.

Barry was re-elected to the city council following his release and was made mayor once again in 1995. He stepped down at the end of his four-year term and pursued a career in banking consulting instead.

However, in 2004 he won a seat on the city council again and became major once more in 2008.

His personal life was blighted by drinking and drug abuse and in his autobiography, he wrote that his life was fuelled by a “mix of power, attraction, alcohol, sex and drugs”.

He married four times and has a son.