Jovanka Broz Dies: Widow of Yugoslavia's Dictator Tito Was 88

Image: Jovanka Broz Dies: Widow of Yugoslavia's Dictator Tito Was 88 Left, Grand Marshall Tito and his wife Jovanka Broz in 1955. Right, Broz by Tito's tomb in 2003.

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 12:06 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Jovanka Broz, the widow of Yugoslavia's dictator, Josip Broz Tito, died Sunday in Belgrade, Serbia, at age 88.

The couple had been married for almost 30 years. Broz died of heart failure, the director of Belgrade's emergency hospital, Zlatibor Loncar, told The Associated Press.

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"With Broz's death, we are left without one of the last most reliable witnesses of our former country's history," Prime Minister Ivica Dacic of Serbia said in a statement.

Once highly regarded Yugoslavian royalty, Broz's life changed shortly after her husband's death in 1980, when she was accused of trying to take over the country. She was subsequently placed under house arrest. She spent most of the rest of her life in isolation.

Her final public appearance came in May of that year, at Tito's state funeral.

"They chased me out ... in my nightgown, without anything, not allowing me even to take a photo of the two of us, or a letter, a book," Broz told the Politika daily in 2009. "(Since then) I was in isolation and treated like a criminal... I could not leave the house without armed guards." 

An ethnic Serbian, Broz was born in the village of Pekane in what is now Croatia. She joined the Partisans at the age of 17 to fight Yugoslavia's German occupiers during World War II. When Tito came to power, she worked as his secretary and eventually married him.

Though the couple never divorced, they became estranged during the 1970s. By 1975, she had stopped traveling abroad with her husband. The couple didn't have any children.

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Related story:

Serbia Holds Funeral for Yugoslavia's Last King

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