Unifier of Germany, integrator of Europe, Helmut Kohl dead (Lead, Changing dateline)

Helmut Kohl with the British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in London in 1983

Helmut Kohl with the British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in London in 1983NILS JORGENSEN REX SHUTTERSTOCK

Kohl was born in Ludwigshafen, Germany in April 1930. Among the State of Israel's greatest friends, he was completely dedicated to its security.

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin had sent condolences to Germany's president and to Merkel and cited him as saying Kohl "will be remembered in Russia as a resolute supporter of friendly relations between our countries". His admiration for Israel and Zionism found expression in my many meetings with him and in his resolute stand in favor of Israel, which he constantly presented in Europe and in worldwide forums.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, once Kohl's protegee, said Germans could be grateful for the trust her predecessor established with other nations' leaders, "from Washington to Moscow, from Paris to Warsaw".

At home, Kohl is celebrated above all as the father of German reunification, which he achieved after the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. Only Otto von Bismarck, who first unified Germany in the 1870s, was chancellor longer, for 19 years. He was previously married to Hannelore Renner in 1960, who committed suicide due to an unbearable medical condition. He is the longest serving Chancellor of his country Germany.

In his message, President Faure described Mr Kohl as a towering figure of the contemporary European political landscape and a true statesman who not only oversaw German reunification but also paved the way for deeper European integration.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the architect of German reunification, died on Friday (16 June), the mass-selling newspaper Bild reported. "His legacy will live on".

"Helmut Kohl filled the European house with life - not only because he built bridges to the west as well as to the east, but also because he never ceased to design even better blueprints for the future of Europe", Juncker said.

European Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, has ordered flags at EU institutions to be flown at half-mast.

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