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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Austrian president dies aged 71
Thomas Klestil
Klestil died less than two days before leaving office
Austrian President Thomas Klestil has died in a Vienna hospital aged 71.

He had suffered a heart attack at his home in the Austrian capital on Monday.

His security guards tried to revive him before he was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.

President Klestil's death came less than two days before was due to leave his largely ceremonial post after two six-year terms in office.

Social Democrat Heinz Fischer, who was elected in April, will take up office in his stead.

Career diplomat

Klestil took up the Austrian presidency in 1992 after a successful career as a diplomat.

He replaced Kurt Waldheim, who had been tainted by revelations that he had served as an officer in a German army unit which had committed war crimes during World War II.

Mr Klestil repaired much of the damage done to Austria's image abroad by the scandal surrounding Waldheim, including expressing sympathy with the victims of the Holocaust in a speech to the Israeli parliament in 1994.

However, for much of his time in office he was dogged by health problems.

Profile: Thomas Klestil
06 Jul 04  |  Europe


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