Ion Cioaba,62, who proclaimed himself King of All Gypsies Everywhere but wielded most of his meager influence as a political gadfly in his native Romania, died on Sunday at a hospital in Bucharest. He reportedly died of a heart attack.
A native of Sibiu, in Transylvania, the wealthy coppersmith agitated so much for Gypsy rights during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu that in 1986 he was jailed and tortured over what he insisted were fabricated charges of cheating the government on a copper contract. After the Ceausescu regime toppled in December 1989, he served on the Provisional National Council and later became a political ally of President Ion Iliescu.
Pub Date: 2/28/97