Regional leaders have sent their condolences to Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
His wife of 43 years, Maria Leticia da Silva, has been pronounced brain-dead a week after she was taken to hospital with a brain haemorrhage.
Several Latin American presidents have sent messages and there was a minute’s silence in Brazil’s Congress.
Maria Leticia had helped Lula found the Worker’s Party and is said to have made its first flag.
Doctors said the family had authorised the donation of her organs.
The left-wing presidents of Bolivia and Nicaragua both expressed their condolences.
Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso visited the hospital where Maria Leticia had been taken.
Once adored by many in Brazil, Lula ended his second term in 2011 with an 83% approval rating.
He had boosted Brazil’s global profile and overseen rapid economic growth during a commodities boom.
But last year Lula and his wife became ensnared in a far-reaching corruption investigation involving the state oil company, Petrobras.
They have said the accusations against them are politically motivated and designed to prevent Lula standing for president again in 2018 elections.
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