Former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani dies at 83

Former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talk at a news conference in Baghdad on April 12, 2005.
(Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

Kurdish officials said Tuesday that former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has died in a Berlin hospital at the age of 83.

A close family friend and a senior Kurdish official in Irbil said Talabani died after his condition rapidly deteriorated on Tuesday. He had suffered a stroke in 2012 and was moved to a German hospital later that year for treatment.

Talabani led one of Iraq’s main Kurdish factions and went on to become the country’s president after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein. He was often seen as a unifying elder statesman who could soothe tempers among Iraq’s Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.