Former Czech President Havel’s Ashes Placed in Family Tomb

Posted January 4th, 2012 at 12:50 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The family of former Czech president Vaclav Havel has buried his ashes in a family plot at a Prague cemetery.

Havel's widow Dagmar placed the urn containing his remains in a tomb Wednesday, on the 15th anniversary of their marriage. Havel was laid to rest beside his first wife, Olga, who died in 1996.

The dissident playwright who led the 1989 revolution against communist rule died on December 18. His December 23 funeral was attended by world leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Czech-born former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright also paid tribute.

The former Czech leader, the Czech Republic's first democratically-elected president, died in his sleep of respiratory problems. He was 75 years old.

Mr. Havel took office in 1989, after leading what has come to be known as the “Velvet Revolution” that ended four decades of communist rule. He oversaw Czechoslovakia's transition to a free-market economy and democracy, as well as its peaceful 1993 split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Mr. Havel was applauded by several European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who described him as a “great European” who fought for freedom on the continent.

Vaclav Havel was president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992, and leader of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003.