Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou died in an Athens hospital late Monday where she was being treated in an induced coma after suffering a brain haemorrhage from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm last month.
President Nicos Anastasiades said he was “deeply saddened”.
“The lost of my dear Zeta shocked me. Deepest condolences to her son Achilleas and her sister and brother, Mary and Doros,” according to a Presidency announcement.
“Zeta will be missed by all of us. But mostly by the nation that lost an honourable, intelligemnt and effective minister.”
The president visited her bedside on May 25, ten days after she felt extreme headaches and was immediately hospitalised, before being airlifted to Greece where she remained in a critical state.
Emilianidou was 67. She was the longest serving cabinet member taking office in Anastasiades’ first administration in 2013.
With the country facing its worst economic crisis since the 1974 Turkish invasion amid the decimated banking and construction sectors, Emilianidou was tasked with creating as many jobs as possible with unemployment spiralling to 16.1% by 2014.
She successfully introduced a subsidised hiring scheme, mainly to employ young professionals for up to nine or 12 months.
But another programme to train technicians and create new jobs in the natural gas distribution sector never got off the ground because of the delay by the state-owned power utility to switch to gas-fired electricity generation.
Emilianidou was initially rushed to a private hospital in Nicosia after having severe headaches; she was diagnosed with a subarachnoid haemorrhage in the brain due to a ruptured aneurysm.
A subarachnoid haemorrhage means bleeding in the space surrounding the brain.
Emilianidou was a popular minister for nearly ten years and was only one of three women in the government. She was also praised for her mediation efforts to maintain peace in the labour sector, often resolving major disputes.
A lawyer by profession, she was part of Anastasiades’ first cabinet in 2013.
Anastasiades kept her in the cabinet after winning the 2018 presidential election.
In her absence, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos had taken over her portfolio.