Former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani dies in a Berlin hospital


Former Iraqi President and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Jalal Talabani died at the age of 83 on Tuesday.

Kurdish officials say former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has died in a Berlin hospital at the age of 83.

Talabani has been hospitalized several times in recent years, ever since he suffered a stroke in 2012.

A close family friend and a senior Kurdish official in Irbil say Talabani died after his condition rapidly deteriorated on Tuesday. He had suffered a stroke in 2012 and was moved to a German hospital later that year for treatment.

He was the seventh president of Iraq and the second after the 2003 US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

Talabani led one of Iraq's main Kurdish factions and he was Iraq's first Kurdish president.

He was often seen as a unifying elder statesman who could soothe tempers among Iraq's Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

Talabani was born on Nov. 12, 1933 in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah.

He was elected president of post-invasion Iraq in 2005 and was re-elected for a second term in 2010.

Talabani is also the founder of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party, of which he had served as secretary-general.

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