Helmut Kohl, chancellor who reunited Germany, dies at 87

World Today

FILE – The Jan. 8, 2003 file photo shows former German chancellor Helmut Kohl passing the Brandenburg Gate during a private walk in Berlin. (AP Photo/Jan Bauer, file)

Helmut Kohl, the physically imposing German chancellor whose reunification of a nation divided by the Cold War put Germany at the heart of a united Europe, has died at 87.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports.

Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union Party posted on Twitter: “We are in sorrow. #RIP #HelmutKohl.”

The German newspaper Bild reported that Kohl died Friday at his home in Ludwigshafen.

Kohl’s 16-year tenure as chancellor stretched from 1982 to 1998. He was the longest serving post-war chancellor.

He combined a dogged pursuit of European unity with a keen instinct for history following the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. Kohl spearheaded, less than a year later, the end of Germany’s division at the front line of the Cold War.

He was also a driving force behind the introduction of the European single currency, convincing skeptical Germans to give up the Deutsche Mark.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton once described Kohl as “the most important European statesman since World War II.”

Kohl had been frail and wheelchair-bound since suffering a bad fall in 2008.

Story by the Associated Press and Reuters.