Eduardo Campos, candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party for next October's presidential election, speaks in Brasilia on July 30. / Evaristo, AFP/Getty Images
Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos, heir to a long-time political family, died Wednesday, when his plane crashed in a residential neighborhood in the port city of Santos.
All seven people aboard the plane, including a campaign photographer, press adviser and two pilots, died in the crash, City Hall press officer Patricia Fagueiro told The Associated Press.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff declared three days of official mourning for Campos and said she would suspend her campaign during that time.
"Without a doubt it is a loss," Rousseff said in a statement. "Aside from our differences, we have always maintained a strong relationship of mutual respect."
U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said officials in Washington were "deeply saddened" to hear of Campos' death.
"We extend our profound condolences to the family and other loves ones of the deceased and to the people of Brazil," she said. "The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with Brazil on this tragic occasion."
Campos, a former governor of Brazil's northeastern state of Pernambuco, was leading the Brazilian Socialist Party ticket but was running third in national polls, far behind Rousseff and her Worker's Party. Married with five children, Campos came from a family that has served in political office for generations.
Eliseu Gabriel, a Sao Paulo city councilman who heads Campos' PSB in Sao Paulo, said the party had yet to make any decisions on how to move forward, saying only the campaign was "stopping" for the moment.
"The campaign was about to start, and he had a big chance of making it to the second round" of Brazil's two-round race, Gabriel said, according to the Associated Press. "Eduardo Campos represented a great hope for a profound change in Brazilian politics."
It was not immediately clear whether anyone on the ground was injured in the crash. Television broadcasts showed wreckage smoldering among smashed buildings in a residential neighborhood.
Aeronautical authorities said the craft was attempting to land in bad weather. The Brazilian Air Force reported the plane was a Cessna 560XL.
His brother, Antonio Campos, told Globo and other broadcasters that Campos would be buried in the family tomb in Pernambuco, where his grandfather's body lies. The grandfather, Miguel Arraes, died on the same date, Aug. 13, nine years earlier.
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