Tributes have been pouring in to Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who helped overthrow Communism and became President of the Czech Republic. Havel died on Sunday morning, aged 75.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron spoke of the profound debt Europe owed Havel. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel praised his “commitment to freedom and democracy”. For Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt he was “one of the greatest Europeans of our age”.
A black flag flew over the Parliament building in Prague and the country is expected to go into state mourning.
“Vaclav Havel became a symbol of the modern Czech state,” said Czech President, Vaclav Klaus. “He contributed to it through his fearless fight against communist totality, as a leader of our Velvet Revolution and as first president of our independent country.”
Ordinary Czechs laid flowers and lit candles at Havel’s house in Prague.
He had suffered poor health dating back to five years spent in a communist jail in the 1980s. Havel died at his country home just before dawn with his wife at his side.