BERLIN - Former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt died on Tuesday aged 96 and leaders praised him as an architect of international cooperation and post-war European integration.
Schmidt was then-West Germany's second center-left government leader from 1974 to 1982, taking office at the height of the Cold War when fellow Social Democrat (SPD) Willy Brandt was forced to resign after a close aide was exposed as a spy for Communist East Germany.
At the same time, Schmidt dealt with the consequences of the 1973-74 energy crisis caused by the OPEC oil embargo, and later faced down a serious threat to West German democracy from a spree of attacks by Red Army Faction urban guerrillas.
"We are mourning Schmidt and are proud that he was one of us. We will miss his powerful judgment and advice," tweeted current German SPD leader and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Schmidt as a mastermind of international cooperation whose decisions continued to have an effect today.