Global Politics

VIDEO: Vaclav Havel, former Czech President, dies over the weekend

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Vaclav Havel, famed Czech leader, died over the weekend at age 75. (Photo by Martin Kozák via Wikimedia Commons.)

Vaclav Havel, the Czech Republic’s first president after the Velvet Revolution against communist rule, has died at the age of 75.

The former dissident playwright, who suffered from prolonged ill-health, died on Sunday morning, his secretary Sabina Tancecova said.

As president, he presided over Czechoslovakia’s transition to democracy and a free-market economy. He oversaw its peaceful 1993 split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Havel first came to international fame as a dissident playwright in the 1970s through his involvement with the human rights group Charter 77.

His activities there landed him in jail several times.

"He was a great inspiration to human rights movements all over the world who are still active," Canadian writer Paul Wilson, who met Havel many times, said in an interview with the CBC.

In Prague over the weekend, his passing was met with an outpouring of grief, flowers and candles.

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel Remembered
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