Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who was to become the first President of the post-communist Czech Republic, died this morning.
The 75-year-old had been suffering from ill health partly caused by the five years he spent in a communist jail from 1979 to 1984.
He died just before dawn, comforted in his last moments by his wife Dagmara according to his secretary.
Through Charter 77, Havel became an international name and the personification of the Czech opposition movement that lead to the 1989 Velvet Revolution.
Vaclav Havel dies