FORMER mayoress of Valencia Rita Barberá’s post-mortem results have been revealed in the Spanish press, and show she died from a multiple organ failure sparked by the cirrhosis of the liver she suffered.
Rita, 68, was head of Spain’s third-largest city for 24 uninterrupted years and, among all the other aspects of her reign she was criticised for, her major credits include creating the spectacular and futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, designed by Santiago Calatrava and likened to Sydney Opera House.
She was found dead in the Hotel Villarreal in Madrid on November 23, where her sister was staying in the same room as her, and it was initially said she suffered a heart attack.
This sparked widespread criticism from within the right-wing PP party over how those accused of corruption are treated – and judged by media before even standing trial – as it appeared the stress of the case had provoked a cardiac arrest.
But according to daily broadsheet El Mundo, Barberá had been diagnosed with an irreversible liver cirrhosis and suffered ascitis – liquid in the abdomen caused by high blood pressure in the veins which carry blood to the liver, a side-effect of cirrhosis.
Forensics found a high amount of infectious fluid in her body due to the fact that her liver was not able to do its job of detoxing the body.
Her condition is said to have been ‘very badly deteriorated’ at the time.
As a result of the liver being unable to process and eliminate toxins, Barberá’s kidneys were also functioning very poorly, which aggravated the problem since the kidneys also act as a toxin filter.
Rita Barberá was alleged to be a heavy drinker, although liver cirrhosis is not always caused by alcohol.
Hepatitis A, caused by contaminated food or water; Hepatitis B, which is sexually-transmitted, and Hepatitis C which is caught from the blood of a person who suffers either of the other two strains, can lead to cirrhosis, or permanent scarring, of the organ.
Non-infectious strains of Hepatitis can be caused by some medication or chemicals, which can then lead to cirrhosis.
The causes of Barberá’s severe and incurable cirrhosis, although widely speculated upon, have never been confirmed.
Last week, Barberá was awarded the Golden Key to the City in Valencia, and Spanish president Mariano Rajoy gave an emotive speech in which he stressed how much he missed his 30-year friendship with Rita – including ‘when she used to scream blue murder’ at him.
He embraced her sisters, to whom Rita was very close, for a long time, and was clearly moved by the tribute to one of his oldest friends.