The New York Times
Sunday, December 18, 2011 -- 6:59 AM EST
Vaclav Havel, Former President of Czech Republic, Dies at 75
Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theater into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, has died. He was 75.
Mr. Havel died Sunday morning at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic, his assistant Sabina Dancecova said.
He was his country's first democratically elected president after the nonviolent "Velvet Revolution" that ended four decades of repression by a regime he ridiculed as "Absurdistan."
As president, he oversaw the country's bumpy transition to democracy and a free-market economy, as well its peaceful 1993 breakup into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
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