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dated August 26,1954: Shoots himself

Getulio Vargas, 71, who dominated Brazilian politics for the last quarter century, shot himself through the heart on August 24 less than 24 hours after he had declared, "I will only leave the Presidency dead." He had been under pressure to resign. Shortly before his death it was announced that he had agreed to seek 90 days leave of absence during which the country would be administered by Vice-President Joao Café Filho. Reports said the President, elected to a five-year term in 1951, whipped out a pistol in his office and shot himself through the heart in the presence of one of his staff. He died almost immediately. His death climaxed three weeks of mounting political crisis during which the Brazilian Air Force had won growing support for its demand that he resign. The crisis was precipitated by the attempted assassination of a journalist, who had opposed the Vargas regime. It led to the accidental shooting of Major Rubens Vaz of the Air Force. There were suggestions that members of President Vargas personal bodyguard were involved.

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