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Mao died just after midnight 00:10 September 9, 1976, age 82. His health had declined in his last years, probably aggravated by his heavy chain-smoking.[244] It became a state secret that he suffered from multiple lung and heart ailments during his later years.[234] There are unconfirmed reports that he possibly had Parkinson's disease[232] in addition to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.[233] His final public appearance—and the last known photograph of him alive—had been on May 27, 1976, when he met the visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[134] He suffered two major heart attacks, one in March and another in July, then a third on September 5, rendering him an invalid. He died nearly four days later. The Communist Party delayed the announcem

Mao died just after midnight 00:10 September 9, 1976, age 82. His health had declined in his last years, probably aggravated by his heavy chain-smoking.[244] It became a state secret that he suffered from multiple lung and heart ailments during his later years.[234] There are unconfirmed reports that he possibly had Parkinson's disease[232] in addition to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.[233] His final public appearance—and the last known photograph of him alive—had been on May 27, 1976, when he met the visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[134] He suffered two major heart attacks, one in March and another in July, then a third on September 5, rendering him an invalid. He died nearly four days later. The Communist Party delayed the announcement of his death until 16:00, when a national radio broadcast announced the news and appealed for party unity.[245]

Mao's embalmed body, draped in the CPC flag, lay in state at the Great Hall of the People for one week.[246] One million Chinese filed past to pay their final respects, many crying openly or displaying sadness, while foreigners watched on television.Great Hall of the People for one week.[246] One million Chinese filed past to pay their final respects, many crying openly or displaying sadness, while foreigners watched on television.[247][248] Mao's official portrait hung on the wall with a banner reading: "Carry on the cause left by Chairman Mao and carry on the cause of proletarian revolution to the end".[246] On 17 September the body was taken in a minibus to the 305 Hospital, where his internal organs were preserved in formaldehyde.[246]

On September 18, guns, sirens, whistles and horns across China were simultaneously blown and a mandatory three-minute silence was observed.[249] Tiananmen Square was packed with millions of people and a military band played "The Internationale". Hua Guofeng concluded the service with 20-minute-long eulogy atop Tiananmen Gate.[250] Mao's body was later permanently interred in the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong in Beijing.

Mao remains a controversial figure and there is little agreement over his legacy both in China and abroad. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in the twentieth century.[251][252] He is also known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet, and visionary.[253] Supporters generally credit and praise him for driving imperialism out of China,[254] having unified China and for ending the previous decades of civil war. He is also credited for having improved the status of women in China and for improving literacy and education. In December 2013, a poll from the state-run Global Times indicated that roughly 85% of the 1045 respondents surveyed felt Mao's achievements outweighed his mistakes.[255]

His policies resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people in China during his 27-year reign, more than any other 20th-century leader; estimates of the number of people who died under his regime range from 40 million to as many as 80 million,[256][257] done through starvation, persecution, prison labour and mass executions.[183][256] However, supporters point out that, in spite of this, life expectancy, education and health care improved during his reign.[258]

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