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The former US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led coalition forces in the first Gulf War, has died aged 78.

Known as Stormin’ Norman, he became a celebrity as much for his straight-talking style as for his military achievements.

Schwarzkopf served in the Vietnam War where he earned three silver stars for valour, a bronze star, a purple heart and three distinguished service medals.

His experience came to the fore with the first war against Iraq.

George Bush senior, US president at the time, said he was “one of the great military leaders of his generation”.

In 1991, an aerial bombardment was followed by a rapid ground campaign that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait.

The then Iraqi leader had ordered the invasion of the Gulf state the previous year.

Schwarzkopf defended the decision not to oust Saddam from power and was ambivalent about the US-led invasion 12 years later.

The man with the reputation for a fiery temper resisted pressure to enter politics, declaring himself an independent.

He died in retirement in Florida after a long illness.

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