Schwarzenberg was foreign minister between 2007 and 2009, and again between 2010 and 2013. Credit: TOP 09.

Former Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg Dies Aged 85

Former Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg has died at the age of 85, as announced by Miroslav Kalousek, his co-founder of the TOP 09 political party, on Twitter yesterday.

Schwarzenberg was hospitalised in Vienna over the past few days. The web Echo24 also reported on his death, saying he died on Saturday.

“Karel Schwarzenberg has died… I knew it was coming, but it is still a blow,” wrote Kalousek, the former Czech finance minister. “He was one of the most important and kindest people in my life. May he rest in peace. The Czech Republic should be forever grateful to him for everything he selflessly did for it.” 

Schwarzenberg, most recently the honorary chairman of TOP 09, was airlifted to a hospital in Vienna a few days ago.

“Ask the doctors why I was transported here. I don’t know,” he told the Expres news server. “I don’t think there are more specialists here than in the Czech Republic. I estimate that it will be about the same, but I will be able to see my children and grandchildren here.” Schwarzenberg spent many years in Vienna and a part of his family lived in the city.

Echo24 reported, citing a source from Schwarzenberg’s family, that the politician had been in critical condition and in an artificially-induced coma for the past two days. They reported that he passed away in the presence of his family.

Schwarzenberg had long been struggling with health problems, which he said concerned his heart and kidneys. He was hospitalised repeatedly, and was unable to attend the ceremony on 28 October where he was awarded Order of the White Lion, the supreme state decoration in the Czech Republic, on the national holiday.

Schwarzenberg, who came from the Orlik branch of the Schwarzenberg noble family, studied law in Vienna and Graz and forestry in Munich, but did not complete his studies. He lived abroad until the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, and subsequently became the head of President Vaclav Havel’s office.

He was foreign minister between 2007 and 2009, and again between 2010 and 2013. In 2013, he advanced to the second round of the first direct presidential election, where he lost to Milos Zeman. Schwarzenberg was a senator from 2004 to 2010 and a lower house deputy after 2010. In the 2017 general election, he became the oldest elected MP in Czech history, at the age of 79.

Schwarzenberg founded TOP 09 together with Kalousek in June 2009 and was elected its chairman in the autumn of the same year, holding this post until 2015.

Former Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg Dies Aged 85
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