Hector Barrantes, 51; Stepfather of Royal Family's 'Fergie'

From the Associated Press

Argentine polo player Hector Barrantes, stepfather of Britain's Duchess of York, died after a long battle with cancer, the official news agency Telam reported Saturday. He was 51.

Barrantes died Friday of cancer of the lymph glands at his polo ranch in Guamini, 335 miles southwest of Buenos Aires.

The Duchess of York, the former Sarah Ferguson, returned to London from Argentina on Thursday morning after a 10-day visit to her ailing stepfather. She made the trip to Argentina with her two children, Princess Beatrice, 2, and 4-month-old Princess Eugenie.

In London, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said she was informed immediately after his death Friday night. "There is no question of her returning to Argentina immediately," said the spokesman, who by custom was not identified.

The duchess, known popularly as "Fergie," is spending the weekend quietly with friends, the spokesman said. Her husband, Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, is a Royal Navy pilot on duty aboard the Campbelton.

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