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Former South African Health Minister Dies

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Liver disease has claimed the life of a former South African health minister who doubted whether HIV caused AIDS and suggested that a healthy diet was better than drugs for fighting HIV.

Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, 69, died from complications related to her 2007 liver transplant, according to her doctor, BBC News reported.

As health minister from 1999 to 2008, Tshabalala-Msimang maintained that anti-retroviral drugs were too costly and could cause harmful side effects. Instead, she recommended people infected with HIV eat olive oil, lemon, beetroot and the African potato as a way to treat their health problems.

She was widely criticized and dubbed "Dr. Beetroot" for her stance.

According to a study released last year, more than 300,000 people in South Africa died prematurely due to the delay in rolling out anti-retroviral drugs to HIV patients between 2000 and 2005, BBC News reported.

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