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East Germany's Manfred Gerlach dies

BERLIN -- Manfred Gerlach, the last president of the former East Germany, has died, German media reported yesterday. He was 83.

Gerlach's widow and unidentified close friends told the Tagesspiegel newspaper, MDR state broadcaster and other German media that Gerlach died late Monday in a Berlin hospital after a long illness.

Gerlach led the Liberal Democratic Party before the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989. After East Germany opened its borders, he helped institute changes that paved the way toward reunification with West Germany. -- AP

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