Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dies aged 100


Kissinger was appointed National Security Adviser by Nixon in 1969, a role that gave him significant influence over US foreign policy during the Cold War

Henry Kissinger.
Henry Kissinger.SHUTTERSTOCK

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has died at 100.

The politician served as America's top diplomat during the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and continued to advise leaders long after leaving office in the 1970s.

Kissinger passed away at his home in Connecticut but a statement from Kissinger Associates — the policy company he founded — did not provide a cause of death.

Former US president George W. Bush was among those paying tribute, stating that the country had "lost one of the most dependable and distinctive voices on foreign affairs".

Richard Nixon's daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, described Kissinger's life story as "so unique — and so thoroughly American".

A statement read: "Henry Kissinger will long be remembered for his many achievements in advancing the cause of peace.

"But it was his character that we will never forget."

Kissinger was born in Germany in 1923 but came to the US in 1938 as his family fled the Nazis.

He became a US citizen in 1943 and went on to serve three years in the US Army. After thriving academically, he taught international relations at Harvard University.

Kissinger was appointed national security adviser by Nixon in 1969, a role that gave him significant influence over US foreign policy during the Cold War.

He spent eight years as national security adviser and Secretary of State between 1969 and 1977, a period that saw Washington end involvement in the Vietnam War and help to end the fighting in the Yom Kippur War.

His tenure also saw the US open up relations with China.

However, Kissinger did face criticism from some who accused him of prioritising Washington's rivalry with the Soviet Union over human rights as well as supporting repressive regimes.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 but it led to two members of the Nobel committee resigning. His co-recipient, North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho, also refused to accept the prize.

Kissinger's opinion was sought by politicians long after he left the US government and he even paid a surprise visit to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping after celebrating his 100th birthday earlier this year.

In an interview last year, the statesman explained that he didn't regret any of the decisions he made during his time in front-line politics.

He told ABC: "I've been thinking about these problems all my life. It's my hobby as well as my occupation. "And so the recommendations I made were the best of which I was then capable."

Kissinger is survived by his wife Nancy as well as children Elizabeth and David from his previous marriage to Ann Fleischer and five grandchildren.