Vaclav Havel, pictured in 1989
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Vaclav Havel, Czech leader and playwright, dies at 75

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.

The BBC's John Simpson looks back at the life of one of the leading figures of European politics.

  • 18 Dec 2011
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