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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 October, 2003, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Former Bosnian president dies
Alija Izetbegovic
Izetbegovic was a father figure to many Muslims

The former Bosnian President, Alija Izetbegovic, has died aged 78.

Mr Izetbegovic died in hospital on Sunday after becoming ill following a fall at his home in September.

Mr Izetbegovic led the country through its fight against Serb and Croat nationalists through the country's 1992-95 war.

He went on to serve as the Muslim member of Bosnia Hercegovina's post-war multi-ethnic presidency until 2000, when he stepped down due to ill health.

He is survived by his wife, Halida, and three children - Sabina, Lejla and Bakir.

Father figure

Mr Izetbegovic had a long history of heart disease, and had received treatment in Slovenia and Saudi Arabia.

He had been fitted with a pacemaker last year and had suffered two heart attacks in the past.

ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC
Born 1925, Bosanki Samac
Graduated in law from Sarajevo University
Jailed twice under communism for Islamic activism
Elected in 1990 as Bosnian president
Signed the 1995 Dayton accord ending the Bosnian war
Stepped down from presidency in 2000

His condition became critical on Friday when doctors could not stop bleeding in his left lung.

Known affectionately as Dedo, or Grandpa, Mr Izetbegovic was a father figure to Bosnia's Muslims.

A trained lawyer, he was jailed for dissidence under the communist regime.

He was elected Bosnian president in 1990 and was immediately faced with the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the subsequent ethnic war.

He came to international attention when he led Bosnia's government from behind sandbagged buildings during the siege of Sarajevo by Serb forces.

But he was criticised for courting support among Muslim nations during former Yugoslavia's bitter conflict and accused of encouraging Islamic radicalism.

Serbs pressed for him to be indicted by the war crimes tribunal at The Hague for alleged atrocities perpetrated by Bosnian Muslim forces.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Jim Fish
"Mr Izetbegovic campaigned to the bitter end to reverse what he saw as the unpunished effects of Serb atrocities"



SEE ALSO:
Obituary: Alija Izetbegovic
19 Oct 03  |  Europe
Bosnia's war legacy
03 Apr 02  |  Crossing Continents
Izetbegovic steps down
14 Oct 00  |  Europe
Timeline: Bosnia-Hercegovina
10 Sep 03  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina
01 Oct 03  |  Country profiles



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