Helmut Kohl, chancellor who reunited Germany, dies at 87

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 27: Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl arrives at a gala evening in Kohl's honour at the Deutsches Museum on September 27, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Guests from politics, church and society attended the event to honour Kohl on the 30th anniversary of Kohl becoming chancellor. During his chancellorship Kohl facillitated the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

BERLIN (AP) — 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.

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 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.

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

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