Former president Václav Havel dies at the age of 75

Former Czech president and playwright Václav Havel died on Sunday morning at the age of 75, several of his former co-workers said. Mr Havel, whose health deteriorated in recent months, only appeared in the public on a few occasions since March when his film, Leaving, was released. The former dissident and Czechoslovakia’s first post-communist president suffered from lung heart problems; in 1996, part of his right lung had to be removed due to a tumor.

Václav Havel, who was born in Prague in 1936, became a respected playwright in the 1960s before he became a leader of Czechoslovakia's anti-communist opposition. He spent some five years in communist prisons. He was elected the country's president in the wake of the Velvet revolution in December 1989, and the president of the Czech Republic in 1993, a post he held for ten years.