Ex-Iraqi President Jalal Talabani Dies

Ex-Iraqi president Jalal Talabani shown here in Baghdad in 2009 has died in Germany

Today (Tuesday), former Iraqi President and Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani passed away at the age of 83 in a Berlin hospital.

Talabani died in Germany, according to Erbil-based Rudaw TV, which reported earlier in the day that his health had deterioted.

Talabani, 83, was Iraq's president from 2005 to 2014 and a key figure in Iraqi Kurdistan, where voters last week overwhelmingly backed independence in a disputed referendum. He had a stroke 2012 and spent time in Germany for 18 months of treatment just before the end of his presidency.

The PUK, Iraqi Kurdistan's third largest party, has faced internal political turmoil and disunity since Talabani's ill health.

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Talabani, a veteran leader of the Kurdish struggle for self-determination, was born on November 12, 1933 in Kelkan village near the town of Koy Sanjaq in northern Iraq.

After studying law at Baghdad University and doing a stint in the army, Talabani joined the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, Massoud's father, and took to the hills in a first uprising against the then-Iraqi government in 1961.

Two years after Hussein was deposed by the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, Talabani was elected president by the transitional national assembly. His youngest son, Qubad, is the deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil.

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