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Ahmed Chalabi, proponent of US invasion of Iraq, dies of heart attack

The Iraqi politician, one of the Bush Administration's most ardent supporters during the 2003 war, has passed away. He leaves behind a torn legacy and a fractious country.

Chalabi was found dead in his home on Tuesday from an apparent heart attack, state media and government officials confirmed. He was 71.

A former exile from a wealthy Shiite family, Chalabi was one of the staunchest opponents of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He was a key supporter of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, supplying the Bush Administration with information suggesting Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction. Much of that information turned out to be false.

Following Hussein's removal from power, Chalabi was one of the leading implementers of "de-Ba'athification," a process meant to remove the institutional legacy of the former dictatorship, but one that has also been accused of further destabilizing the country.

He was once considered a prime candidate for prime minister, but his tarnished reputation following the invasion largely precluded him from holding such a high-ranking position.

blc/kms (dpa, Reuters, AFP, AP)

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