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Lockerbie bomber dies of cancer in Libya

May 20, 2012 at 10:57 AM   |   Comments

TRIPOLI, Libya, May 20 (UPI) -- A former Libyan intelligence officer convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing has died of cancer in the capital of Tripoli, his family said Sunday.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, 60, succumbed to prostate cancer in Libya where he had been released on compassionate grounds in 2009 after spending less than 10 years in a prison in Scotland for the attack.

A Libyan foreign ministry told CNN Megrahi would be buried Monday.

Doctors said Megrahi had at best six months to live when he was sent home and his longer-than-expected survival had angered some Western officials and relatives of the 270 people killed in the Lockerbie disaster.

Megrahi's health had been failing in recent months, his brother said Sunday. The BBC said Megrahi has undergone a blood transfusion and had been in and out of a coma last summer.

Megrahi insisted to the end he had nothing to do with the mid-air bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. He was one of two Libyan agents charged by authorities in Britain in connection with the bombing in 1991. The other man was acquitted but Megrahi was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Still, Megrahi's passing was not mourned by some U.S. officials. "This man was a horrible man," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told CNN Sunday. "It would have been better had he not died in freedom, but died in prison."

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