PASSINGS: Itamar Franco, Ron Smith

Itamar Franco

Former president helped Brazil tame inflation

Itamar Franco, 81, former Brazilian president who in the 1990s tamed inflation in Latin America's biggest country, died of a stroke Saturday at Sao Paulo's

Albert Einstein

hospital, the hospital said in a statement. He had been hospitalized since May after being diagnosed with leukemia and pneumonia.

Franco became president in 1992 after

Fernando Collor de Mello

stepped down to avoid being impeached as a result of corruption charges. Franco had been elected vice president in 1989.


In early 1994, Franco launched a program that curbed a monthly inflation rate of about 50% by raising interest rates and controlling government spending. High interest rates also attracted more foreign capital.

The program, considered Brazil's most successful anti-inflationary action, was created by Franco's finance minister, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who was elected president later in 1994.

Franco was born June 28, 1930. He grew up in the city of Juiz de Fora, where he was elected mayor in 1966 and 1972. He was elected to the Senate in 1974 and 1982.

In 1999, a year after Franco was elected governor of Minas Gerais, he declared a 90-day moratorium on the state's debt with the federal government, claiming that the state was broke. The news fanned fears that Brazil would default on debt payments, and investors pulled their money out of the country.

Franco was elected a national senator in 2010 for the Popular Socialist Party.

Ron Smith

Chart House executive and triathlete

Ron Smith, 77, a longtime triathlete and former executive with the Chart House restaurant chain, died June 29 of


at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, said his son, Matt.

Smith was chief executive and president of the Chart House chain until retiring in 1976, his son said. He started competing in triathlons in the 1970s and won national titles in his age groups.

Ronald Kenneth Smith Jr. was born July 13, 1933, in Long Beach, the first of three children. His father was in the Navy.

After attending what is now the University of the Pacific on a football scholarship in the 1950s and graduating with a degree in physical education, Smith joined the Navy and eventually became an instructor for the Underwater Demolition Teams.

He left the Navy in the early 1960s and taught and coached at the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad. He also worked for a surfboard maker in Encinitas before becoming involved with the Chart House.

Smith found triathlons "a natural transition" after his years in the Navy and as a competitive swimmer in high school and college, he told the San Diego Union-Tribune in 1987.

--Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports