Mikhail Gorbachev, last leader of the Soviet Union, dies at 91.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has died at age 91, Russian state media reported and his personal press secretary Vladimir Polyakov confirmed to CBS News.
His cause of death was not immediately released, but Gorbachev’s office had said earlier that he was undergoing treatment at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow, according to The Associated Press.
Gorbachev served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. During his time in this role, he oversaw a deescalation of the Cold War, which culminated in the dissolution of the USSR and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Adopting principles of glasnost and perestroika, he weighed the legacy of seven decades of Communist rule and set a new course, presiding over the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.
Mikhail S. Gorbachev, whose rise to power in the Soviet Union set in motion a series of revolutionary changes that transformed the map of Europe and ended the Cold War that had threatened the world with nuclear annihilation, has died in Moscow. He was 91.
His death was announced on Tuesday by Russia’s state news agencies, citing the city’s central clinical hospital. The reports said he had died after an unspecified “long and grave illness.”
Few leaders in the 20th century, indeed in any century, have had such a profound effect on their time. In little more than six tumultuous years, Mr. Gorbachev lifted the Iron Curtain, decisively altering the political climate of the world.
Mr Gorbachev, who took power in 1985, opened up the then-USSR to the world and introduced a set of reforms at home.
But he was unable to prevent the slow collapse of the Soviet Union, from which modern Russia emerged.
Tributes have been paid worldwide, with UN chief Antonio Guterres saying he “changed the course of history”.
“Mikhail Gorbachev was a one-of-a kind statesman,” UN Secretary General Mr Guterres wrote in a Twitter tribute. “The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.”
The hospital in Moscow where he died said he had been suffering from a long and serious illness.
In recent years his health has been in decline and he had been in and out of hospital. In June, international media reported that he had been admitted after suffering from a kidney ailment, though his cause of death has not been announced.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his deepest condolences following Mr Gorbachev’s death, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agency Interfax, according to Reuters.