PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) – Former Khmer Rouge military commander Ta Mok died Friday as he awaited trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, his lawyer said.

The notoriously brutal commander had been in government detention since his capture in 1999.

He was transferred from prison to a military hospital last month suffering from high blood pressure, tuberculosis and respiratory complications. He had been in and out of a coma since last week.

Ta Mok was believed to be 80.

His lawyer, Benson Samay, said that he died at 4:45 a.m. Friday.

Ta Mok, whose real name is Ung Choeun, was one of two senior Khmer Rouge officials awaiting trial.

The group’s rule in the late 1970s led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people through starvation, overwork, disease and execution.

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