Helmut Kohl, chancellor who reunited Germany, dies at 87

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl presents a new edition of his memoirs at the opening day of the Frankfurt book fair, western Germany, on October 8, 2014. The Frankfurt Book Fair, the international publishing industry's biggest annual jamboree, opens with speeches by German President and his Finnish counterpart, whose country is this year's featured guest. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL ROLAND (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)

BERLIN — Helmut Kohl, the physically imposing German chancellor whose reunification of a nation divided by the Cold War put Germany at the heart of a united Europe, has died at 87.

Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union Party posted on Twitter: “We are in sorrow. #RIP #HelmutKohl.”

The German newspaper Bild reported that Kohl died Friday at his home in Ludwigshafen.

Kohl’s 16-year tenure as chancellor stretched from 1982 to 1998.

He combined a dogged pursuit of European unity with a keen instinct for history following the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. Kohl spearheaded, less than a year later, the end of Germany’s division at the front line of the Cold War.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton once described Kohl as “the most important European statesman since World War II.”