Brazil's top medium dies of heart failure

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Chico Xavier, the most popular spiritual medium in Brazil and author of 500 books with messages from the deceased, died Sunday of heart failure at age 92, hospital sources said yesterday.

Mr. Xavier was an icon for followers of spiritualism, the belief that spirits of the dead communicate with the living, usually through a medium. He lived in the state of Minas Gerais, was said to have communicated between the dead and the living through writing, and received pilgrims from all over the country. Minas Gerais declared three days of mourning.

His first book in 1932 contained poems he received "spontaneously" from dead poets. It sold more than 20 million copies. Even politicians were drawn to Mr. Xavier. Fernando Collor de Mello, who was elected president in 1989, visited the medium that year.