Former Iraqi President Talabani Dies Aged 83

Elias Hubbard
October 4, 2017

Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish guerrilla leader who became Iraq's president after the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein, and who embodied hopes for a unified, peaceful future through years of strife, has died at the age of 83, Kurdish officials said Tuesday.

Talabani was also Iraq's first Kurdish president.

His niece, Alaa Talabani, an Iraqi member of parliament, confirmed his death to CNN, after it was reported by Iraqi state TV and Kurdish media.

He spent a year and a half in Germany receiving treatment and withdrew from public life, stepping down as President in July 2014 after his return to Iraq.

The death of the Kurdish leader, Talabani, came as tensions are running high between Baghdad government and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan after the Kurdish region held a controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan and disputed areas, including Kirkuk.

The last seven years of his tenure were marked by multiple episodes of illness. His health deteriorated after he suffered a stroke in December 2012.

Talabani, who was born in November 1933 near Erbil, now the seat of the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq, served as the first non-Arab president of Iraq. At age 14, he joined the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), which began a rebellion in northern Iraq in the 1960s.

He was the seventh president of Iraq and the second after the 2003 US -led invasion, Iraqiya added.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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