Former Czech President Vaclav Havel dies at 75 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel dies at 75

People are lining up to pay their last respects to former Czech President Vaclav Havel.

Havel is lying in state at a cultural center he founded in Prague; his body will be moved to Prague's castle later this week for a state funeral.

Havel led the non-violent "Velvet Revolution" and became the country's first democratically-elected president.

In 1995, President Havel joined President Clinton and Slovak President Michal Kovac at the dedication of the Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids. The three presidents left their signatures on the museum kiosk during a private tour.

Havel died Sunday after battling chronic respiratory problems for several years.

In a statement, President Obama said, "Like millions around the world, I was inspired by his words and leadership. ... Vaclav Havel was a friend to America and to all who strive for freedom and dignity, and his words will echo through the ages."

Former U.S. President George W. Bush said Havel was a "dignified, charming, humble, determined man" who "suffered much in the cause of freedom and became one of its greatest heroes."

A state funeral is tentatively scheduled for Friday.



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