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Andrew Thompson, who attended only 47 of 1,088 sittings of the Canadian Senate over the past 15 years, has resigned his seat, six weeks after becoming the first senator suspended from the chamber.

The Senate confirmed Tuesday that Thompson, 73, faxed a letter of resignation Monday from his home in La Paz, Mexico.

Senators are required to retire at 75.

Thompson was appointed to the Senate by former Prime Minister Lester Pearson in 1967. He made $75,000 ($52,500 U.S.) a year as a senator and will now draw an annual pension of $48,000 ($33,600 U.S.).

Last year, Prime Minister Jean Chretien expelled Thompson from the Liberal Party caucus after a public outcry over his truancy. The Senate closed his office late last year to discipline him for his absence.

On Feb. 19, senators voted to suspend him without pay for contempt after he did not show up to explain why he had attended so few sittings. Thompson said he was in poor health and lived in Mexico in order to obtain alternative medical treatments.

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