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Marion Barry, former D.C. mayor, dies at 78

No cause of death has been announced. Barry had been treated in the past for prostate cancer, diabetes and he received a kidney transplant five years ago.

By UPI STAFF
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Former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry (C) speaks to members of the press on his way out of a D.C. Superior Court after being found not guilty of driving under the influence in Washington on June 13, 2007. (UPI Photo/Dominic Bracco II)
Former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry (C) speaks to members of the press on his way out of a D.C. Superior Court after being found not guilty of driving under the influence in Washington on June 13, 2007. (UPI Photo/Dominic Bracco II) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Marion Barry, the former four-term mayor of Washington, D.C. whose political career survived a crack cocaine arrest and prison sentence, died early Sunday morning. He was 78.

Barry's death was announced by his family in a statement.

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Barry died at United Medical Center in Washington. A hospital spokeswoman told The Washington Post, that Barry arrived at the hospital at 12:30 a.m. and died at 1:46 a.m. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week at Howard University Hospital.

Barry had spoken by phone to a reporter while at Howard and said he was there for observation, according to WUSA9. The reporter, Bruce Johnson, said Barry "sounded very weak when we talked Thursday evening; but he sounded better when he called me Friday morning." Barry had been released from Howard on Saturday.

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No cause of death has been announced. Barry had been treated in the past for prostate cancer, diabetes and he received a kidney transplant five years ago.

Barry was elected mayor of DC four times -- in 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1994. He won his last term after an arrest in 1990 on drug charges. He was videotaped smoking crack during a federal drug sting in a hotel room. He served six months on a misdemeanor possession charge and went on to be elected mayor again four years later.

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Barry left the mayor's office in 1999 and worked as an investment banker, according to the New York Times. But he wasn't done with politics. In 2004 he was elected to the District of Columbia Council representing the city's 8th Ward. He held that seat until his death.

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