Cyprus is to observe three days of mourning following the death of its former President Tassas Papadopoulos. A heavy smoker, he had been battling lung cancer. Considered a hardliner by some, the 74-year-old has died less than a year after he was defeated at the polls. In a tribute, his successor as Cypriot President, Demetris Christofias, described Papadopoulos as “one of the key actors in our modern history.”
Born in Nicosia in 1934, Papadopoulos trained as a barrister in Britain before entering politics. He leaves a wife and four children. Papadopoulos came to power in 2003 with centre-left backing. He oversaw the divided island’s entry into the EU the following year when he also led Greek Cypriot rejection of a UN reunification plan. His state funeral will be held on Monday.