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Former US presidential candidate Herman Cain dies of COVID-19

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has died after a battle with coronavirus (AFP Photo/CHIP SOMODEVILLA)
Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has died after a battle with coronavirus (AFP Photo/CHIP SOMODEVILLA)

(AFP)

Herman Cain, a US businessman and onetime Republican presidential candidate, has died after a month-long battle with coronavirus, his website announced. He was 74.

Cain died in an Atlanta-area hospital, where he was admitted in early July, according to Newsmax, where he had been set to launch a weekly television program.

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“Herman Cain — our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us — has passed away,” the editor of his website wrote.

“Although he was basically pretty healthy in recent years, he was still in a high-risk group because of his history with cancer,” the statement said.

Cain was born in December 1945 in Tennessee and raised in Atlanta by a domestic worker mother and chauffeur father.

The Navy veteran established himself in the corporate world with stints at Pillsbury and Burger King before reviving Godfather’s Pizza as its CEO.

Cain then tried his hand at national politics, spicing up the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination with his lively interviews and debate performances.

The African-American businessman’s signature policy was his catchy “9-9-9” tax reform plan — a nine percent income tax, a nine percent corporate tax, and nine percent sales tax.

After briefly leading in the polls, Cain suspended his campaign following allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied.

US President Donald Trump considered him last year for a position on the US Federal Reserve, before his candidacy withered under the opposition of several key Republicans.

Cain, a co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, attended a rally for the incumbent in Oklahoma last month, at which several campaign staffers tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

It is not clear how Cain contracted COVID-19. 

He is survived by his wife Gloria, his children Melanie and Vincent, and several grandchildren.

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