Vu Ky, the long-time personal secretary and confidant of Vietnam’s revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, has died, a doctor said. He was 84.
Vu Ky died on Saturday in Hanoi after a long illness when his organs failed.
Ky served as the late president’s right-hand-man for 24 years starting in August 1945, just one week after Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
He was with the revolutionary leader throughout the Vietnam War and was at his bedside in death.
Ky was with Ho Chi Minh at key points in the revolutionary leader’s life, including when he drafted a national appeal against the Americans in 1966, which included the famous words “nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”.
Ky accompanied Ho Chi Minh on a three-week trip to China in 1965 and when asked by his hosts whether he slept well, Ho responded “Ask Vu Ky”, according to William Duiker’s biography of Ho Chi Minh.
The newspaper said Ky also witnessed Ho Chi Minh writing his will and testament and was trusted to keep the documents from 1965 until the leader’s death four years later.
In the late 1980s, Ky told foreign reporters Ho Chi Minh actually died on September 2, 1969, but the communist leadership declared his death one day later to keep from spoiling National Day celebrations.
Duiker’s biography says Ky also revealed that Vietnamese leaders deviated from the Ho Chi Minh’s will by disregarding his wishes for a simple funeral. Instead, a massive mausoleum was built to hold the leader’s embalmed remains. Thousands of pilgrims visit each year.
Born Vu Long Chuan to civil servants in Ha Tay province near Hanoi, Ky attended the well-known Buoi school, which was primarily reserved for children of officials and rich families.
He joined the Communist Party at age 19 and was renamed Vu Ky by Ho Chi Minh.
The newspaper quoted Ky as saying he was shocked to learn Ho Chi Minh had picked him out of three candidates to become his personal secretary.