Don King Offers Condolences to Nigeria On the Death of President Umaru Yar'Adua

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American Boxing Promoter Describes Late Nigerian President as "A Beacon for the Promise of what Nigeria can Achieve."

American boxing promoter Don King responded to the death of Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, who died Wednesday after a long illness, by offering condolences to the people of Nigeria, a great people he has considered "family" for many years.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of President Umaru Yar'Adua, whose leadership provided great hope for the Nigerian people," King said. "He was a beacon for the promise of what Nigeria can achieve. My thoughts are with his family members and the citizens of Nigeria. I love Nigeria and I love the Nigerian people."

King met with Yar'Adua and then-Vice President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja during a visit to Nigeria in 2008. Jonathan was sworn in as president yesterday after serving as what he termed "acting president" after the National Assembly transferred power to him in February.

"My great friend and Nigerian Governor of Akwa Ibom State Godswill Obot Akpabio introduced me to President Yar'Adua and Vice President Goodluck during a visit to the presidential villa. We immediately formed a bond of brotherhood and respect because I could see they were dedicated to the betterment of their country and its people.

"Having met with these leaders, I know the aspirations and goals they described for a better Nigeria will live on to be achieved in the future. During this time of mourning and reflection, I call on the Nigerian people to unite and keep hope alive for a better Nigeria."

King also noted the country will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence later this year.

"The people of Nigeria should rally behind their new President Goodluck Jonathan. There would be no better tribute to and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Nigerian independence in October than for an orderly transition to President Jonathan to take place. This would show the world this great African country is committed to unity, solidarity and togetherness while pursuing the country's vast potential through peace, harmony and humanity."

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Richard Rubenstein
Don King Productions, Inc.
212-843-9222
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