(CNN) -- Former Ecuadorian President Leon Febres Cordero died of cancer Monday afternoon. He was 77.
Cordero served a four-year term as Ecuador's president, starting in 1984.
"He stood by his principles and he was a fighter," said Nicole Febres Cordero, the former president's niece, who was at his bedside in Guayaquil Hospital in southern Ecuador during his final moments.
"Even though he was sick, he received everyone with a smile on his face," she told CNN by phone Monday evening.
His body was taken to Guayaquil Cathedral shortly after he died, where a public funeral service will be held on Tuesday.
Cordero served a four-year term as Ecuador's president, starting in 1984. The center-right leader was closely allied with U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Cordero later became mayor of Guayaquil and also served in the National Congress of Ecuador.
CNN's Maria Elisa Callejas contributed to this report.