Former US Secretary of State and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger died Wednesday at the age of 100 at his home in Connecticut, it was reported. He epitomized his country's foreign policy in the second half of the 20th century and remained active throughout his life. In July this year, he made a surprise visit to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Kissinger negotiated the end of the prolonged Vietnam War, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. That same year he supported Chilean General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte overthrowing President Salvador Allende leading to a military dictatorship that would last until 1990. Documents declassified by the White House showed he had been pushing for the coup since 1971.
He had been born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923, in Fuerth, Germany, into a Jewish family that emigrated to the United States in 1938 to escape the Nazi regime. After becoming a US citizen in 1943, he served in the US Army during World War II. He then won a scholarship to Harvard University, where he earned a master's degree and a PhD. He was on Harvard's faculty for the next 17 years.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed him as National Security Advisor. In the midst of the Cold War, Kissinger arranged two summit visits, to China and the Soviet Union, in 1972 to defuse war tensions. In 1973, Nixon appointed him Secretary of State, a position he held until January 1977, when Gerald Ford -Nixon's successor in 1974- ended his term, and until January 1975 he served simultaneously as National Security Advisor.
As Secretary of State, Kissinger practiced the so-called shuttle diplomacy that eased tensions in the Middle East, following the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt. It was in that context that the Sinai Accords were later signed, whereby both sides agreed to renounce war despite their differences.
In 1977, Kissinger went to work at Georgetown University but returned to the US government in 1985 as foreign intelligence advisor to President Ronald Reagan, who appointed him chairman of the bipartisan Joint Commission that would define White House interests in Central America.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President George W. Bush picked Kissinger to head an investigative committee. However the outcry from Democrats who saw a conflict of interest with many of his consulting firm's clients forced Kissinger to step down from the post.
His recent public appearances, although some of them virtually, included the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last January.
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once said she trusted the advice of her friend Kissinger.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Nancy, two children from his first marriage (to Ann Fleischer) - David and Elizabeth - and five grandchildren. His remains will be buried in a private family service and later there will be a memorial service in New York City, according to a statement from his consulting company.