Helmut Kohl, Chancellor Who United Germany, Dies at 87

From a human perspective, I can only say that my meetings with Helmut Kohl have always been marked by mutual respect - both at the time when I was the prime minister of the GDR, and later as we were colleagues in the Bundestag.

"Working closely with my very good friend to help achieve a peaceful end to the Cold War and the unification of Germany within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will remain one of the great joys of my life", Bush said. "Helmut was a rock".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said "a tribute to the memory of chancellor Kohl".

Helmut Kohl, Germany's ex-chancellor and architect of reunification in 1990, has died at 87.

"He played an instrumental role in the peaceful reunification of his country, within a year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and helped set a course for the historic process of Europe's political and economic integration", said Guterres in a statement.

Merkel, Germany's incumbent chancellor who grew up in communist East Germany before being appointed by Kohl to her first ministerial post, said he "changed my own life path decisively" by reuniting Germany.

"The 21st century in Europe really began on his watch", Clinton said, describing Mr Kohl as "a man who was big in more than physical stature".

Bild reported in its online edition that Kohl died in the morning in his home in Ludwigshafen, in western Germany. "The world has benefited from his vision and efforts".

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Helmut Joseph Michael Kohl was born in Ludwigshafen on April 3, 1930, the third and last child of Cäcilie E. and Hans Kohl, a minor civil servant and tax expert who had been a soldier in World War I.

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was also a close ally with Helmut Kohl and released a statement say that one of the great joys of his life was working with the German leader to bring an end to the Cold War and seeing the dream of one, unified Germany, take place, according to NPR.

He headed the government of Germany for 16 years, from 1982 to 1998.

Speaking in Rome late Friday, Merkel said her predecessor's skillful statesmanship won over Germany's neighbors and ensured a peaceful reunification.

"We mourn", Mr Kohl's Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) tweeted with a picture of the former chancellor. He embodied German reunification, they said, "even if the course he set led to severe social upheaval in eastern Germany".

This was seen most notably in 1989, during a period of months that the country found tumultuous and resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Often harsh and thin-skinned, Kohl also could display a quick wit and jovial earthiness.

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