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Celebrated Monk Dies in US Hospital

Maha Ghosananda, the venerable monk who worked to rebuild Cambodian Buddhism after the Khmer Rouge and advocated peace worldwide, died Monday in a US hospital.

The monk, who was nominated for a Nobel Prize for his Cambodia reconstruction efforts, lived in Rhode Island and died in a Massachusetts hospital.

He died from complications arising from an earlier brain stroke, two senior monks close to him said.

Ghosananda's true age was not immediately available, though a close friend told the Associated Press he was 81.

Kim Kang, a close friend of Ghosananda and chairman of the Elderly Buddhist Monk Committee in Richmond, Virginia, told VOA that Ghosananda's body should be preserved and honored.

"It is very important to preserve [his] body in glass, so that the faithful can come to pay him respect at a later time," Kim Kang said.

Ghosananda "participated in the peace process around the world, of which Cambodia is a part," he said.

Kim Kang confirmed the cause of death.

Ghosananda was one of the first monks to enter Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge fell and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1994.

In that year he also blessed an opening ceremony in Poland, led a peace march through Cambodia, was caught in fighting between government and rebel forces and led a delegation of monks in peace talks in Pyongyang, according to the Web site Buddhanet.