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Chinese Nobel laureate and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo dies at 61

Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese political activist who won a Nobel Prize while imprisoned, has died at the age of 61, Chinese authorities confirmed Thursday. The political prisoner was granted medical leave last month after being diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May, but he was not permitted to leave China to seek treatment abroad.

Liu became China's only Nobel laureate in 2010, a year after he was sentenced to prison for helping to craft a petition that called for a new constitution and democracy in the Communist-run state. The petition was the culmination of Liu's decades of work as a dissident.

The Nobel committee previously lauded Liu as "the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China."