Helmut Kohl, father of German reunification, dies at 87 - Bild

BERLIN, June 16 (Reuters) - Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the architect of German reunification, died on Friday, the mass-selling newspaper Bild reported. He was 87.

Bild reported in its online edition that Kohl died in the morning in his home in Ludwigshafen, in western Germany.

"We mourn," Kohl's Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) tweeted with a picture of the former chancellor.

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Helmut Kohl through the years
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Helmut Kohl through the years
FILE PHOTO 18DEC89 - Picture shows Christian Democratic German Chancellor Helmut Kohl during a visit to Dresden in 1989. Today Kohl returns to Dresden to take part in an election campaign rally of his party for the upcoming general election on September 27. REUTERS/Michael Urban (GERMANY) BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE
FILE PHOTO APR85 - Helmut Kohl stands with former West German President Richard von Weizsaecker (R) in this April 21 1985 file photo during a memorial ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the former Bergen Belsen concentration camp. A round 60.5 million eligible Germans are called to vote for a new parliament in general election on Sunday September 27. MUR
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (C) stands with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, British Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe and French President Francois Mitterrand (L-R) during a summit of the European Community in Hanover, June 27, 1988. Picture taken June 27, 1988. REUTERS/Michael Urban/File (GERMANY)
FILE PHOTO SEP86 - Helmut Kohl waves from a Leopard tanks in this September 17 1986 file photo during a visit to German and British troops in Northern Germany. Around 60.5 million eligible Germans are called to vote for a new parliament in the general election on Sunday September 27. MUR
FILE PHOTO 22SEP84 - Helmut Kohl (R) stands hand in hand with former French President Francois Mitterrand (L) in this 1984 file photo during their visit to the former Verdun battlefields.
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl walks on stage in front of a crowd of supporters February 20,1990 during his first appearance as part of the East German election campaign in Erfurt, East Germany. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl moves through a crowd of supporters February 20,1990 during his first appearance as part of the East German election campaign in Erfurt, East Germany. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (R) points out something of interest on a visit to Indonesian President Suharto's private ranch in West Java on February 25
German chancellor Helmut Kohl (l) shakes hands with South Korean president Kim Young-sam at presidential palace Blue House in Seoul on March 2 during their meeting
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and US President Clinton walk along the collanade at the White House as they head to a lunch break during their meetings March 26
President Clinton makes a statement while German Chancellor Helmut Kohl places earphones to follow the simultaneous translation of the press conference March 26
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is briefed by United Nations Command officer Captain Robert Timm at the heavily-fortified truce village of Panmunjom dividing Communist North from capitalist South Korea on March 2
G-7 summit leaders line up for a group photograph in Tokyo July 7. They are from left: Prime Minister Carlo Ciampi (Italy), Chancellor Helmut Kohl (Germany), President Francois Mitterrand (France), President Bill Clinton ( United States ), Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa (Japan ), Prime Minister Kim Campbell ( Canada ), Prime Minister John Major (Britain), Belgium Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene and Hening Christophersen (European Council Vice President
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl ditsributes some flowers to members of the Stuttgart dancing guard, February 9 during the annual visit of various German carnival royalties to the chancellory
Greece Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou (C) is welcomed by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (L) and Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel (R) at the start of the two-day summit of the European Council in Essen, December 9
Environmental Minister Angela Merkel (R) chats with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl during a parliamentary debate, April 25 discussing the results of the UN Convention on Climate Change and yesterdays controversial nuclear waste shipment across Germany, approved by Minister Merkel
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (L) and French President Jacques Chirac (C) in a Strasbourg winstub "Chez Yvonne" following their meeting, May 8
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (R) gestures to the press as he shakes hands with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl after their meeting and press conference June 7. Kohl gave Arafat 10 million marks in aid in the first visit by a head-of-government to the Palestinian self-rule area
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (L) and Finance Minister Theo Waigel joke with each other during a news conference in Halifax June 16. Kohl and Waigel later discussed their meetings at the G7 nations June 16 in Halifax
French President Jacques Chirac (R) and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (C) inspect the French-German Brigade at the beginning of the 65th French-German Summit , July 11
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (R) reviews a guard of honour with Poland's Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy (L) after Kohl's arrival in Warsaw, July 6
Helmut Kohl, German Chancellor and chairman of the Christian Social Union party (CDU) is all smiles during a news conference in the upper Bavarian village of Kreuth, January 27. The CDU and her conservative sister party Christaian Social Union (CSU) is holding a two-day strategic summit. Kohl did not want to answer questions whether he would run for another four-years period as Chancellor in the 1998 general elections
Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto (L) joins hands with Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl while Chinese Premier Li Peng tries to link hands with him during the opening ceremony of the Asia-Europe Summit meeting March 1. The summit brings together twenty-five Asian and European nations and is aimed at paving the way for new economic and strategic relationships between the two regions
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl reviews members of the Scots Guards outside 10 Downing Street April 29. Kohl is on a one day visit to Britain for talks with Prime Minister John Major on the European ban on British beef and other EU and world issues
South African President Nelson Mandela (L) and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (R) pose for photographers prior to talks, May 22. President Mandela is on a three-day state visit to Germany
President Bill Clinton (R) waves from the door of Air Force One as he and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl depart Milwaukee from Mitchell International airport, May 23
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his wife Hannelore pose with dog "Felix" for photographers, during their summer holidays near the town of St. Gilgen some 30 kilometers east of Salzburg, August 16. The Kohl's spend their holidays in St. Gilgen every summer for the last 26 years.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl looks through a Zeiss microscope during a visit to the famous German optics maker in Jena, November 19. The Carl Zeiss company is celebrating its 150th anniversary today.
German chancellor Helmut Kohl (C) smiles during he poses for the press together with two miners of the region in their traditional working clothes at a ceremony in honour of the saint Barbara in Leipzig, December 4. The saint Barbara is the patron saint of the miners.
Christian Democratic German Chancellor Helmut Kohl gestures during a news conference in Bonn, January 9. Kohl later said he saw good chances for an economic upturn in Germany, in part because of the low rate of inflation and low long-term interest rates. GERMANY KOHL
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl smiles alongside carnival members during a reception held at the Chancellory, February 5. The annual reception is held to highlight the carnival season that ends in six days. GERMANY
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl views a film through three dimension glasses (3D) during his tour at the Hanover Industry Fair in Hanover, April 14. Britain is this year's special guest country at the world' biggest industry trade fair, which will open to the public today. GERMANY FAIR
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (2nd from right) waves to members of the public as he boards a Great Barrier Reef tourist boat with members of his entourage in Port Douglas May 3. Kohl left for a five-hour tour of the world famous reef on his second day of a five-day tour of Australia, during which he will also visit Sydney and Canberra.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl speaks to Russian President Boris Yeltsin (C) while standing with President Clinton, French President Jacques Chirac, and Japan's Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto (L) during a photo opportunity at The Fort restaurant on the final night of the Denver Summit of the Eight, June 21. GROUP
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl answers reporters questions at his closing news conference at the Denver Summit of the Eight June 22. This is the last day of the summit. GROUP
Spanish King Juan Carlos (L) looks at Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl who lifts up a large traditional wine glass of Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate area during a visit of Deidesheim July 17. King Juan Carlos is on an official four-day visit to Germany. GERMANY POLITICS
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his wife Hannelore stroke dog Mara during their annual vacation in the Zinkenbach Klamm (Zinkenbach gorge) in Brunn, near Salzburg, August 8. Kohl and his wife are on their 27th annual Austrian vacation to St. Gilgen at the lake Saint Wolfgang.
French Formula One driver Jean Alesi (L) has the thumbs up as German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (C) and Jacques Villeneuve (R) look on during the winners ceremony of the Luxemburg Grand Prix, September 28. Alesi finished second behind Villeneuve who won the race.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl stands in front of a star during a reception for carol singers in Bonn, January 6. Kohl traditionally invites carol singers from all over Germany who collect money for children relief programmes.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is all smiles after he was decorated with carnival medals during the annual reception for carnival royalties from all over Germany in the Chancellory, February 18. Germany's six days of street carnival will start on Thursday
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl drinks a glass of white wine at a ceremony of the German Farmers Federation in Koblenz March 9. The federation celebrates the fiftyth anniversary and Kohl was the main speaker of the ceremony. GERMANY KOHL
French President Jacques Chirac (L) and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (R) arrive for a meeting of European Union leaders May 3 in Brussels. EU leaders chose [Dutchman Wim Duisenberg] to head the central bank that will manage their single currency, but [Duisenberg agreed to step down in 2002 and hand over to French candidate Jean-Claude Trichet.] Behind right is Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok.
President Clinton shakes hands with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl during a welcoming ceremony in the town square in Eisenach May 14. Clinton was presented a basket full of gifts after his speech to the people. GMH/CM/SB
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (R) jokes with US President Bill Clinton (L) in Clinton's office on board Air Force One during their flight to the eastern German city of Eisenach May 14. It is the first visit of a US President to a city in former communist East Germany.
US PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON LOOKS THROUGH A BINOCULAR AS GERMAN CHANCELLOR HELMUT KOHL LOOKS ON IN EISENACH. US President Bill Clinton (L) looks through a binocular made by a Thuringia optical manufacturer as German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (R) looks on during their visit to the eastern German city of Eisenach, May 14.The binoculars were in a basket with goods from Thuringia. It is the first visit of a US President to a city in former communist East Germany.
British Premier Tony Blair (C) walks through Birmingham Museum with leaders (L-R) Jean Chretien of Canada, Helmut Kohl of Germany, Boris Yeltsin of Russia, Jacques Chirac of France, Romano Prodi of Italy, Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan, Bill Clinton of the United States and Jacques Santer of the European Commission May 15. Leaders of the Group of Eight are gathering in this central England city for their annual summit which is expected to include talks about India's underground nuclear tests which took place earlier this week and third world debt. NS/CLH/
Helmut Kohl, German Chancellor and chairman of the Christian Democrats, (CDU) displays a voting card at the 10th CDU party convention in Bremen May 18. The West's longest-serving leader is using the CDU conference as an opportunity to try and silence rebels within the centre-right party ahead of September's elections that predictions say Kohl will lose to his Social Democratic (SPD) challenger [Gerhard Schroeder.]
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl laughs as he holds up a cabbage decorated with the colours of the German flag, which he was presented with after his speech in the north- sea coastal village Buesum July 29. Kohl is on a one-day election campaign trip in four holiday resorts on the north- sea coast. Buesum is famous in Germany for its cabbage production and the German translation of Kohl means cabbage.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (R) and his wife Hannelore (L) enjoy a " jause " a traditional Austrian sandwich break at their Austrian holiday resort St Gilgen, August 4. It is the 30th visit by Kohl to the region. MD/MUR/ns
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Party (CDU) is welcomed by young women wearing traditional clothings of the German "Spreewald" region August 24 prior to an election campaign rally in Cottbus. Several thousand CDU supporters took part in the rally. RKR/AA
German chancellor Helmut Kohl stands under a large placard which reads "World class for Germany" during his speech in Frankfurt September 4. Kohl visited Frankfurt during a rally for the upcoming general elections in Germany on September 27. KP/KM
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (L) and Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima are all smiles during the Vienna EU summit December 11. Kohl received honorary European Citizenship from Klima. LE/NS/
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl addresses a ceremony after he was decorated with the Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House April 20. Kohl received the medal for his many years of good relations with the U.S. MUR/RC
US President Bill Clinton (L) applauds former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl after Kohl was decorated with the Medal of Freedom at the White House in Washington April 20. Kohl received the medal for his many years of good relations with the U.S. MUR/RC
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (L) hugs U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) after he was decorated with the medal of Freedom at the White House in Washington, April 20. Kohl received the medal for his long years of relations with the United States. MUR/JP
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl stands with US President Bill Clinton after he was decorated with the Medal of Freedom at the White House April 20. Kohl received the medal for his many years of good relations with the U.S. MUR/RC
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl walks along the honor guard with U.S. Secretary of Defense Wiliam Cohen (L) and Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army General Eric K. Shinseki (C), during a ceremony in front of the Pentagon April 21. Kohl was honored for his long years relations with the U.S. and what he did for NATO during his 16 years in office. MUR/HB
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Germany's longest serving post-war chancellor from 1982 to 1998, Kohl was a driving force behind the introduction of the euro currency, convincing skeptical Germans to give up their cherished deutschemark.

An imposing figure who formed a close relationship with French President Francois Mitterrand in pushing for closer European integration, Kohl had been frail and wheelchair-bound since suffering a bad fall in 2008.

At home, he is celebrated above all as the father of German reunification, which he achieved after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall despite resistance from partners such as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

He won voters in communist East Germany by promising them "flourishing landscapes."

Shortly after leaving office, Kohl's reputation was tarnished by a financing scandal in his center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), now led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Kohl mentored Merkel early in her career, appointing her to her first ministerial post.

Until his death, Kohl refused to identify the donors, saying he had given them his word. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt and Paul Carrel; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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