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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkmens Commemorate Late Leader

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Tens of thousands of people on Friday commemorated the anniversary of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's death, laying flowers at monuments to him and streaming to the mausoleum where he was buried.

Niyazov died on Dec. 21, 2006, at the age of 66.

The personality cult he surrounded himself with was in evidence a year after his death, as citizens flocked to some of the countless monuments to the former Communist Party boss and filed into the family mausoleum in his hometown of Kipchak -- part of a fountain-studded complex that includes the country's biggest mosque.

"A year ago, the people and all progressive humanity lost an outstanding political leader and statesman," Niyazov's successor, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, said in televised comments during a ceremony there. He repeated his election campaign pledge to follow the path laid by Niyazov.