Jovanka Broz, widow of late Yugoslav leader Tito, dies at 89

Belgrade, Oct 20 (EFE).- Jovanka Broz, the widow of Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito (1892-1980), died Sunday in a Belgrade hospital. She was 89.

The hospital, where she was admitted on Aug. 23, confirmed her death, the Tanjug news agency reported.

Tito's widow was admitted to the medical center in serious condition resulting from health complications but the hospital did not specify what her difficulties were, although she remained in intensive care the entire time.

Jovanka Broz ceased appearing in public years before Tito's death in 1980 and, since then, she had lived a practically isolated existence, without an official explanation ever being given.

She lived in a badly-maintained house near the former residence of the communist leader in the aristocratic Belgrade neighborhood of Dedinje.

Some historians say that Jovanka Broz was separated from Tito in the last years of his life and placed under house arrest so that she would not involve herself in politics, but her enforced isolation did not end even after the disintegration of Yugoslavia into several ethnically-based states.

Other authors, including Pero Simic in his 2009 book "Tito: Secret of the Century," say that the closest associates of the communist leader said that his wife "was an obstacle to exercising greater influence on the aged president."

Broz avoided the press and only gave one brief interview in 2009 to the Serbian daily Politika in which she said that they "expelled her like a suitcase" from the communist leader's residence.

Jovanka Budisavljevic was a young and beautiful partisan when she met Tito during World War II.

They married in 1952, although she was 28 and he was 60.

It was Tito's third official marriage, although he had many other relationships, and the only one in which he fathered no children. He had two sons from his two previous marriages.