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Stars descend as man who ended the Cold War turns 80

Last updated on: March 31, 2011 16:34 IST

Stars descend as man who ended the Cold War turns 80

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Hollywood stars, singers and politicians all turned out on Wednesday for the eclectic birthday bash of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of state of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, who turned 80 earlier this month.

Gorbachev celebrated his birthday with a extravagant charity gala at London's Royal Albert Hall.

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Image: Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev sits with his daughter Irina during the concert in his honour, at the Royal Albert Hall in London
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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Gorbachev, who actually reached the milestone birthday on March 2, arrived with daughter Irina Virganskaya on his arm and her husband Andrey Trukhachev.

Raising a toast to the birthday boy, a former Nobel prize winner and widely acknowledged as 'The man who changed the world', were a host of VIPs from

Arnold Schwarzenegger to Hollywood ladies Sharon Stone and Goldie Hawn and super model Milla Jovovich, to name a few.

Image: Actress Sharon Stone poses for photographers as she arrives for a concert
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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Stars descend as man who ended the Cold War turns 80

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The glitzy red carpet affair, was hosted by actors Sharon Stone and Kevin Spacey. They underlined the celebrity status Gorbachev enjoys in the West, where he is widely perceived as the man who freed Eastern Europe from Soviet rule and ended the Cold War.

Back home the former president is quite a controversial figure, as many hold him responsible for the Soviet Union's breakup.

Image: Sharon Stone and Kevin Spacey host the star-studded show
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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Stars descend as man who ended the Cold War turns 80

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Among politician former British Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen, the one-time Solidarity leader and Polish President Lech Walesa was among the guests, as was Israeli President Shimon Peres graced the event.

Gorby 80 Gala, as the fund-raising concert was called, featured performers Katherine Jenkins, Shirley Bassey, Bryan Ferry, Mel C and the London Symphony Orchestra and leading Russian composer Valery Gergiev.

Image: Mikhail Gorbachev and supermodel Mila Jovovich embrace on stage during the finale of the Gorby 80 Gala
Photographs: Ian Gavan/Getty Images
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When the former president took stage to make an opening speech, he said that he had lived through much in his eight decades, seen many things, experienced loss as well as joy and addressed many crowds, but he had rarely been at an event like this one.

The A-list affair will raise millions for various charities including The Raisa Foundation, named in honour of Gorbachev's late wife, who died in 1999 and the Macmillan Cancer Support. Tickets for the exclusive event ranged from 195 to 100,000 for an exclusive box. According to organisers, the event cost between 2million and 3million to stage.

Image: The London Symphony Orchestra play at a concert to honour Mikhail Gorbachev at the Royal Albert Hall
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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