(BBC News) Helmut Kohl earned his place in history by securing the successful reunification of Germany after the collapse of communism.

His 16 years in office made him the longest-serving German chancellor since Bismarck and he was once described as the greatest European leader in the second half of the 20th Century.

He was a passionate supporter of greater European integration and was one of the main architects of the Maastricht Treaty.

Yet the end of his career was marred by economic problems in the old East Germany and a financial scandal within his own CDU party.

Helmut Josef Michael Kohl was born on 3 April 1930 into a conservative, Catholic family,

His political outlook was shaped by his experiences in his hometown of Ludwigshafen in the Rhineland during World War Two.

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