Josip Broz Tito, the lifelong president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and the Communist League of Yugoslavia, the Marshal and Supreme Commander of the Armed forces, who ruled Yugoslavia for 35 years, passed away on this day, 39 years ago.
A total of 39 years have passed since his death, but many citizens of the former SFRY continue to visit his grave at the House of Flowers on Dedinje (Belgrade), where his wife Jovanka was also buried six years ago.
The date of Tito’s death coincides with the beginning of the economic crisis in the SFRY. Tito got ill at the age of 88, but that did not prevent him from participating in Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement that took place in Havana back in 1979. He welcomed the year of 1980 in Karadjordjevo, but he could not stand, so he congratulated the people of Yugoslavia while sitting. Three days later, he was admitted at the Clinical Center in Ljubljana due to a clog found in his femoral and subcutaneous artery, and his left leg was amputated on January 20, after which he had kidney failure in February, and then came problems with his heart and lungs.
He died on May 4, 1980 at 3.05 p.m. At 6.50 p.m., all the TV screens were turned black for 30 seconds, and then the speaker Miodrag Zdravkovic said with tears in his eyes: “Drug Tito died.”
Tito’s funeral in Belgrade was attended by more than 200 prominent officials from all around the world.
Tito’s funeral was broadcast directly via television in Yugoslavia and 16 other countries in the world, and in several countries the whole record or more important parts of the funeral was subsequently broadcast, which according to Eurovision information was named the second most viewed event in the 20th century, immediately after the Apollo mission 11 on the Moon, July 1969.
Ten years later, the former Yugoslavia became a battlefield for the independence of former Yugoslav republics, firstly Slovenia, followed by Croatia and then BiH.
Josip Broz Tito was born in a mixed Croatian-Slovenian family in Kumrovec, Zagorje, in May of 1892. His date of birth, May 25, was celebrated as “Youth Day” during his lifetime.
Tito’s grave is part of the Museum of Yugoslavia and has been visited by over 18 million people since the funeral.