Helmut Kohl, Chancellor Who United Germany, Dies at 87

  • VOA News

    June 17, 2017 08:41

    Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl died at his home in Ludwigshafen in the former West Germany. He was 87 years old.

    Kohl was renowned for his role in reunifying Germany after the opening of the Berllin Wall and for recording the longest tenure of any Democratically-elected chancellor in German history.

    Kohl served for 16 years, from 1982-1998, and oversaw the end of the Cold War. Kohl also led the unification of communist East Germany with the West in 1990.

    Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl on the shore of Lake Tegernsee in Bad Wiessee, southern Germany. /AP

    Kohl was recognizable because of his abnormally large frame. The former chancellor stood 1.9 meters tall and weighed over 130 kilograms during his years in office.

    The former chancellor was also known for his large role in shaping the European Union. The chancellor also used imposing political tactics to change Germany's currency from deutschmarks to the euro.

    According to former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Kohl was "the most important European statesmen since World War II."

    Kohl dedicated the years after his career as a chancellor to rebuilding Germany and uniting the European Union with the new Christian Democratic Party. Kohl's wife committed suicide in 2001. That same year, he agreed to pay a fine of roughly $143,000 after getting caught up in a financial scandal.

    Kohl's Christian Democratic Union Party tweeted Friday: "We are in sorrow. #RIP #HelmutKohl."

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