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Rediff.com  » News » Former New Zealand prime minister David Lange dies

Former New Zealand prime minister David Lange dies

August 14, 2005 17:28 IST

Former New Zealand prime minister David Lange, who led the country through a tumultuous period when it split with the United States over nuclear policy and battled France over the sinking of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, has died aged 63.

In a brief statement early on Sunday, the Lange family said he died late on Saturday night from complications of renal failure.

Lange was prime minister for five years from 1984, inheriting a country in economic trouble and presiding over a series of radical economic reforms, which alienated many of his Labour Party's traditional blue-collar supporters.

He had suffered serious health problems for the past decade and had his right leg amputated below the knee in July following complications with diabetes.

In 1995 he underwent a quadruple heart bypass operation and in 2002, he was diagnosed with a rare incurable plasma disorder, amyloidosis, which causes a build-up of excess protein from bone marrow and damages the organs.