BELGRADE, Serbia, Oct. 20 (UPI) —
Jovanka Broz, widow of longtime Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito, died Sunday after a long illness. She was 89.
In a telegram, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told her family that Broz had been the victim of "historical injustice," RTS, the government broadcaster in Serbia, said. Officials said a committee will be formed to plan a state funeral.
Broz, an ethnic Serbian, was born in the village of Pekane in the Lika region in what is now Croatia. She was a teenager when World War II began and joined the Partisans at the age of 17 to fight Yugoslavia’s German occupiers.
She was introduced to Tito, who led the Communist resistance during the war, serving as a secretary and eventually marrying him. Tito, more than 30 years older, had been married several times and had numerous other relationships with women.
While the couple never divorced, they became estranged during the 1970s. In 1975, she stopped accompanying her husband when he traveled abroad.
When Tito died in 1980 a few days before his 88th birthday, Broz attended the funeral, her first public appearance since 1977.
Three months after Tito’s death, Broz was placed under house arrest after an extended search of her home. She lived quietly, staying out of the public eye, until her own death.