John Simpson
Media playback is unsupported on your device

John Simpson: "Vaclav Havel an unlikely politician"

Vaclav Havel, the Czech Republic's first president after the Velvet Revolution against communist rule, has died at the age of 75.

The former dissident playwright, who suffered from prolonged ill-health, died on Sunday morning, his secretary Sabina Tancecova said.

As president, he presided over Czechoslovakia's transition to democracy and a free-market economy.

The BBC's World Affairs editor John Simpson gives his recollections of the man many consider a driving force in the overthrow of communist rule in eastern Europe.

  • 18 Dec 2011
Go to next video: Vaclav Havel: Dissident to president