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Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze briefs the media at a political summit in Moscow on April 29, 1998. / AFP

Former Georgian president and foreign minister of the Soviet Union Eduard Shevardnadze has died, according to multiple media reports. He was 86.

Marina Davitashvili, Shevardnadze's personal assistant, told the Reuters news agency on Monday that he died after a long illness. She did not give any further details.

As foreign minister in Soviet times Shevardnadze played a key role in leader Mikhail Gorbachev's political reforms that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Shevardnadze subsequently returned to Georgia to become head of state there until 2003 but resigned as president following allegations of corruption in what is referred to as the "Rose Revolution."

Shevardnadze was born near Georgia's Black Sea coast.



Copyright 2014USAToday

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