Nigerian President's wife dies after plastic surgery operation in Spain

Mrs Obasanjo, 59, apparently had chosen to have an operation at the exclusive Molding cosmetic surgery clinic in the upmarket town of Puerto Banos near Marbella last Friday.

She was reported to have suffered a severe asthma attack and was rushed to hospital in Marbella in the early hours of Sunday morning, where she was declared brain-dead.

As the body of the wife of President Olusegun Obasanjo was being repatriated to Nigeria last night, however, the precise circumstances and cause of her death remained shrouded in mystery

The Molding, Marbella's biggest plastic surgery clinic, is the "health tourism" playground of many rich foreigners on the Costa del Sol. For many of them, it is the first choice for expensive plastic surgery treatments in luxurious surroundings.

Doctors at the clinic refused yesterday to say about the procedure undergone by Mrs Obansanjo. The clinic did, however, issue a statement, saying that she did not die during cosmetic treatment.

"At this moment we do not know the causes of Mrs Obansanjo's death and we await the results of the autopsy. We have given all information possible to those carrying out the autopsy," it said.

The daily newspaper El Pais reported that Mrs Obasanjo, looking for a way to lose weight, may have undergone liposuction, but when The Independent asked if this was the case, the clinic would not comment on the procedure she had undergone.

An initial post-mortem carried out over the weekend suggested Mrs Obansanjo might have died of a severe asthma attack. A more detailed, two-and-a-half hour-long, autopsy performed yesterday, gave a much clearer indication of the cause of death, said Antonio Garcia de Galvez, director of the Malaga Institute of Forensic Medicine, where the examination was carried out. The results will, however, remain secret and divulged only to the judge in charge of the investigation.

In Spain, autopsies are only court-ordered when the death is deemed to be of a suspicious nature - as in this case - or to have been caused by violence, Dr Garcia de Galvez said. Coroners investigating the cause of Mrs Obasanjo's death are looking for evidence of possibility of medical malpractice.

The official Nigerian media was yesterday filled with tributes for the woman who, over the past six years, came to occupy a formidable, if often controversial, role in public life through her work for children's charities and contribution to Nigeria's women's rights movement. There was little room yesterday for carping about her notorious extravagance and corruption- tainted lifestyle.

"The mother of the nation is gone," wrote Dr Ahmadu Ali, national chairman of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) in a hastily arranged condolence register at the State House, Abuja.

Mrs Obasanjo, who would have turned 60 next month, became a familiar presence in Nigerian public life from the day her husband, who had taken several wives before her, took power in 1999. The couple had been separated in the early 1990s but were reunited during his imprisonment under the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha later in that decade.

Her wholesome reputation was, however, tainted earlier this year by allegations of corruption when she ordered the arrest of a newspaper publisher over an article entitled "Greedy Stella". Orobosa Omo-Ojo was detained after his newspaper, the Midwest Herald, ran an article accusing Mrs Obasanjo of organising the sale of 207 government-owned properties to her relatives at reduced prices.

During her lifetime Mrs Obasanjo also attracted widespread criticism for her ostentatious displays of wealth. That she should have apparently died after undergoing expensive cosmetic surgery in Marbella, the playground for Saudi princes and wealthy despots, will do nothing enhance her reputation.

Procedures that went wrong

* OLIVIA GOLDSMITH, Author of The First Wives Club, made into a hit film, died in New York in 2004 eight days after undergoing a face lift. She had a severe reaction to the anaesthetic.

* LESLIE ASH Former star of Men Behaving Badly, had collagen implants in her lips in 2003 which went wrong, giving her the nickname "trout pout". She described herself as having had "an accident".

* DENISE HENDRY Wife of the former Scotland football captain Colin Hendry, developed septicaemia after having a tummy tuck at a private hospital in Lancashire. She went into coma but recovered.

* HOPE DONAHUE Had 17 operations in five years and said she was addicted to the surgery in a memoir, Beautiful Stranger. Two operations went wrong, including implants that turned her chest into a hard block of scar tissue.

* JOCELYN WILDENSTEIN The divorcée, 56, was called the Bride of Wildenstein after she was said to have spent £2m on plastic surgery.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own