BRASILIA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff declared three days of official mourning following the unexpected death of Socialist Party presidential candidate Eduardo Campos.
"All of Brazil is in mourning, we lost a great Brazilian, we lost a great colleague," Rousseff said of Campos, who died in a plane crash earlier in the day.
The plane in which Campos was traveling crashed over several houses in a residential neighborhood in Santos. According to the Brazilian Air Force, the plane crashed as it was preparing to land, and bad weather is likely to be the cause of the accident.
Campos had been politically active since youth, first as a federal deputy, then as minister and twice governor of Pernambuco state. He was running in distant third place in the lead up to the Oct. 5 general elections, behind Rousseff and Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party.
Rousseff and Campos had coincided at an event two weeks ago, and the two have "talked like friends," said the president, who suspended her re-election campaign during the three-day period.
In September, Campos, 49, abandoned the left-leaning government coalition headed by the Workers' Party to run as candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) on a platform that largely criticized Rousseff's economic policies.
Polls showed Campos trailing in third place, with 8 percent of voter support, compared to Rousseff's 38 percent and Neves' 22 percent.
During the previous presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Campos served as Science and Technology minister, and was considered a politician with a promising future.
He was from a traditional political family in Brazil -- his maternal grandfather Miguel Arraes was an icon of the left-wing in Brazil and also served as Pernambuco governor. In a bizarre coincidence, Campos died on the same day as his famed grandfather, Aug. 13. This was Campos' first stab at a presidential race.