29 Mar 2003

American Samoa mourns governor's sudden death

9:01 am on 29 March 2003

Flags are still flying at half mast in Pago Pago as American Samoa mourns the death of the territory's governor, Tauese Sunia.

The 61 year old Governor suffered a cardiac arrest and died during a flight to Honolulu on Thursday.

He was being airlifted to Honolulu for further diagnostic testing after spending five days in the LBJ Hospital Intensive Care Unit suffering from abdominal pains.

The territory's member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says he was shocked by the governor's sudden death.

"This is a time our leaders need to really to get together, and our people to give as much support to Togiola at these trying times. this is not an easy task, and I know that this is certainly was unexpected, I don't just have any words to express my disbelief that this could have happened, I'm just saddened that things have had to happen this way."

Under the constitution, the Lieutenant Governor, Togiola Tulafono, takes over as governor.