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Cambodian politician Chea Sim, a leader of post-Khmer Rouge government, dies at 82

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2010, file photo, Chea Sim, president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party, prays as the country marks the end of Khmer Rouge rule in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Chea Sim, a key Cambodian political figure after the fall of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime who was an ally and rival of Prime Minister Hun Sen, has died at age 82, the head of his bodyguard unit said Monday, June 8, 2015. He had been in ill health for many years, and hospitalized for the past few months. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2010, file photo, Chea Sim, president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party, prays as the country marks the end of Khmer Rouge rule in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Chea Sim, a key Cambodian political figure after the fall of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime who was an ally and rival of Prime Minister Hun Sen, has died at age 82, the head of his bodyguard unit said Monday, June 8, 2015. He had been in ill health for many years, and hospitalized for the past few months. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith, File)  (The Associated Press)

Chea Sim, a key Cambodian political figure after the fall of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and an ally of Prime Minister Hun Sen, has died at age 82, the head of his bodyguard unit says. He had been in ill health for many years and hospitalized in recent months.

Chea Sim was president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party since it was formed in 1991, and president of the Senate since 1999. He became a revolutionary in the 1950s and like Hun Sen was a member of the communist Khmer Rouge when they seized power in 1975 after a civil war. Both men fled the group to join a resistance faction groomed by neighboring Vietnam, which installed them as Cambodia's new leaders after ousting the Khmer Rouge in 1979.