China's 'father of hybrid rice' dies
An agronomist hailed as a Chinese national hero for helping develop hybrid rice and easing hunger for millions worldwide died on Saturday at the age of 90, state-run Xinhua news agency said.
Yuan died in a hospital in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, Xinhua said. It said he had suffered from an unspecified illness.
Xinhua said 16 million hectares of agricultural land in China is now planted with hybrid rice, or 57 percent of the country's total rice-planting area, helping to feed an additional 80 million people per year.
The news of Yuan's death was viewed nearly a billion times within a couple of hours after the announcement, with web users mourning his passing and lauding his breakthroughs.