Ma Ying-jeou's mother passes away at age 93

TAIPEI, Taiwan - President Ma Ying-jeou's mother, Chin Hou-hsiu, passed away yesterday after succumbing to lung cancer, doctors said. She was 93.

The president did not make any public statement concerning his mother's death, but the Taipei Municipal Wangfang Hospital said that Ma and his siblings were at their mother's bedside when she died at 6:16 p.m.

The family decided against holding a public funeral for Chin, the hospital said.

Pai Kuan-jen, deputy chief of the hospital, said that Chin died of complications arising from lung cancer but declined to reveal further details, citing patient privacy.

Chin, who seldom made public appearances, is survived by Ma - her only son - and four daughters.

Chin was born in Hunan Province, China in 1922. She met Ma Ho-ling - her future husband and the president's father - when they were studying in the same university in Chongqing, China, during World War II. They married in 1944.

The president's father passed away in 2005.

The Central News Agency said Chin was admitted to Wangfang Hospital in early April and that the president visited her every night.

The three mayors who were newly promoted as vice chairmen of the ruling Kuomintang - Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu - all extended condolences to the president.

Hau said that the president must have been deeply saddened by his mother's death, particularly at a time when Mother's Day is approaching.

Chu was cited by a New Taipei City Government spokesman as expressing his condolences and saying that he would respect the family's privacy.

Hu had already extended his condolences to the president by sending him a text message, according to a spokeswoman of the Taichung City Government. The spokeswoman said that she was not made privy to the content of the message.