Ex-Philippine President Benigno Aquino dies at 61

Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino died in hospital on Thursday at the age of 61.

Aquino was the only son of two of the Southeast Asian country's democracy icons, and was leader from 2010 until 2016.

Known popularly as Noynoy, he rode a wave of public emotion all the way to the presidency after his mother Corazon Aquino died in 2009.

She herself president from 1986 until 1992 and Aquino still carried a bullet wound from an attempted military coup in 1987 against her government.

His father was a key opposition figure who was assassinated in 1983 upon his return home from political exile.

Aquino won plaudits for leading the Philippines through a period of economic growth that helped dispel the country's "sick man of Asia" reputation.

But his time in office wasn't without crisis.

In 2013, Aquino had to deal with the devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms to hit the country.

That same year his clean image was tainted by scandals over lawmakers' misuse of public funds.

He also faced criticism when in his fifth year in office 44 commandos were killed in a botched operation to capture a wanted Malaysian militant.

He squared up to China over the South China Sea, bringing a case to the Hague.

Beijing ultimately ignored the court's 2016 ruling that China has no historic title over the disputed waters.

According to local media reports, he has been unwell for the past two years and was admitted to hospital earlier on Thursday.

An easygoing figure - Aquino never married, drove fancy cars and smoked heavily.