German Ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl Dies At 87

SAN FRANCISCO, June 16, (THEWILL) – Former German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, is dead. He was 87.

The man, who was regarded as architect of German reunification, died on Friday morning in his home at Ludwigshafen, Western Germany.

“We mourn,” Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union party tweeted with a picture of the former Chancellor.

Reuters reported that Kohl, Germany’s longest serving post-war Chancellor from 1982 to 1998, was a driving force behind the introduction of the Euro currency, convincing skeptical Germans to give up their cherished Deutschemark.

An imposing figure who formed a close relationship with former French President, Francois Mitterrand, in pushing for closer European integration, Kohl had been frail and wheelchair-bound since suffering a bad fall in 2008.

At home, he is celebrated above all as the father of German reunification, which he achieved after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall despite resistance from partners such as ex- British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

He won voters in communist East Germany by promising them “flourishing landscapes.”

Shortly after leaving office, Kohl’s reputation was tarnished by a financing scandal in his centre-right party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), now led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Kohl mentored Merkel early in her career, appointing the chancellor to her first ministerial post.

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