Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russian politician who served as the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, has died at the age of 91, according to the Associated Press.
The Central Clinical Hospital in Russia provided a statement to Russian news organizations that Gorbachev died after suffering from an undisclosed, long-term illness.
Gorbachev served as the leader of the Soviet Union during its demise in 1991. He resigned on Christmas of that year after spending the last few months in office watching different republics declare independence. His initiatives and reforms led to the end of the Cold War but resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union.
These initiatives included forging arms reduction deals with the United States, along with partnerships across Western powers to remove the Iron Curtain that had long divided Europe since the second World War, which ultimately brought about the reunification of Germany.
In 2018, filmmakers Werner Herzog and André Singer co-directed “Meeting Gorbachev,” a documentary about the former Soviet Union leader’s life that included three sit-down interviews between Herzog and Gorbachev. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival of September that year and was screened subsequently at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Gorbachev was born in Privolnoye, Stavropol Krai. He grew up in a poor peasant family of both Russian and Ukrainian heritage, under the rule of Joseph Stalin.
Russian news media indicated that Gorbachev will be buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow next to his wife Raisa, who died in 1999.