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Germany

Germany mourns death of former chancellor Helmut Schmidt's wife

Hannelore Schmidt, the wife of former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, has died at her home in the northern German port city Hamburg. She was 91.

Helmut and Loki Schmidt

Helmut and Loki Schmidt

Hannelore Schmidt, nicknamed Loki, died early on Thursday at her home in the northen city of Hamburg, her husband's parliamentary office said. Her health had deteriorated since she broke a foot after a heavy fall at home.

Loki Schmidt was beloved by Germans for her down-to-earth nature and devotion to her husband of nearly seven decades. She and Helmut Schmidt met as schoolchildren and married in 1942.

Her husband was West Germany's chancellor from 1974 to 1982, leading the country through Cold War tensions and a bloody wave of terror by far-left radicals, the Red Army Faction.

Loki was more at home on nature trails than on the red carpet. The renowned biologist with the characteristic short haircut was a passionate botanist who urged environmental awareness years before the term "green" became a buzzword.

She started a foundation for the protection of endangered plants and beginning in 1980, she selected Germany's "flower of the year." Both Loki and her husband were known as passionate smokers and made headlines in 2008 for lighting up in a Hamburg theater that had banned smoking.

Last year, Loki Schmidt published her memoirs, entitled "Tell me how things used to be." She is survived by her husband and a daughter.

Author: Dagmar Breitenbach (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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