Former Czech president Havel dies

Updated: 2011-12-19 09:59


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PRAGUE - Former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel has died at the age of 75 after a lengthy illness, the country's media reported on Sunday.

Former Czech president Havel dies

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel holds his "Die Quadriga" award during the awards ceremony in Berlin in this October 3, 2009 file photo. [Photo/Agencies] 

Havel died in his sleep at his home, the Czech News Agency said, quoting his secretary Sabina Tancevova.

According to the report, Havel had serious health problems and due to trouble with his breathing he spent most of his time at his home in Hradecek, east Bohemia.

Havel became president of Czechoslovakia in December 1989 and served as Czech president from 1993 after Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He led the Czech Republic until 2003.

"In his last moment, his wife Dagmar was with him, together with one of the nuns who have been taking care of him in recent months," Tancevova said.

He had grappled with breathing problems since he had part of his right lung removed in December 1996 after cancer was detected.

The former chain smoker had suffered repeated lung and heart problems and underwent surgery for a pulmonary inflammation in 2009.

Earlier this year, Havel was taken to hospital with acute bronchitis, from which he had never seemed to fully recover.

Havel married actress Dagmar Veskrnova, 20 years his junior, in 1997, following the death of his first wife Olga a year earlier. He had no children.