Vaclav Havel, author, dissident, and world leader, has died

Vaclav Havel, author, dissident, and former president of Czechoslovia and the Czech Republic, died Sunday.

Havel first gained fame as a playwright and essayist, writing brilliant anti-communist pieces that landed him in jail for many years followed by decades being followed by the secret police.

He was credited with orchestrating the Velvet Revolution in 1989, a bullet-free street demonstration revolt that resulted in the toppling of the four-plus decades Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Havel was appointed the country's tenth and last President.

In 1993, when the country was split in two, he became the first President of the Czech Republic. Under his leadership, the CR joined NATO and the European Union.

After his 2003 retirement, world leaders continued to meet with him for political advice and analysis. President Obama remarked on his passing that Havel "...proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon."

Havel, who was a lifelong heavy smoker, was 75 when he died of severe respiratory distress.

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