PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad -- Noor Hassanali, Trinidad's first president of Indian descent, died Friday following an illness , his son said. He was 88.
The former two-term president was buried later Friday in accord with traditions of his Muslim faith, said Khalid Hassanali. He declined to elaborate on the cause of death.
Mr. Hassanali, a former judge and lawyer, served as president of Trinidad and Tobago from 1987 to 1997.
His two terms in the largely ceremonial office were characterized by efforts to bridge the Caribbean islands' racial divide and by consensus building between various parties split.
Forty percent of the population is black, while 40 percent is of East Indian descent.
``He tried to bridge gaps caused by racial differences," said Lloyd Best, a political specialist in Trinidad.
Mr. Hassanali was president during an attempted coup in 1990 by a Muslim group that bombed police headquarters, stormed Parliament, and took the prime minister and his Cabinet hostage.
Mr. Hassanali was in London at the time, where he remained until the government regained control after the end of the six-day siege.
The government will hold a public interfaith memorial in his honor in early September.
Mr. Hassanali leaves his wife, two adult children, and five grandchildren.