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MANAGUA (Reuters) - Violeta Chamorro, Nicaragua's first female president, was hospitalised on Monday and placed in intensive care after an apparent stroke, her family said.

Chamorro, 88, was taken to a hospital in the capital Managua and was in a "delicate" state, her family said in a statement.

Chamorro was the first woman elected as a head of state in the Americas after she unseated Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega as Nicaraguan president in 1990. She ruled until early 1997.

The wife of a popular opposition newspaper editor during Anastasio Somoza's dictatorship, Chamorro took over the daily La Prensa after her husband's assassination and later directed its criticism of the socialist Sandinistas.

She is best remembered for ending the rule of Ortega, a Cold War nemesis of the United States who defied the U.S.-backed rightwing Contras that tried to overthrow the Sandinista government that ousted Somoza.

Ortega reclaimed the presidency in 2006 and is currently facing calls for his resignation after cracking down on protests over proposed social security cuts.

(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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Reuters