Guido Westerwelle (left) with Angela Merkel | Reuters | 16177ga
Guido Westerwelle, the former chair of Germany’s Free Democratic Party, German Foreign Minister from 2009 until 2013, and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2009 to 2011 has died from acute leukaemia in Cologne. He was 54. German media reported that Mr Westerwelle had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and had undergone a bone marrow transplant. His foundation said he died as a result of complications associated with his treatment.
Guido Westerwelle was the first openly gay man to hold high office in Germany. He and his long-term partner Michael Mronz entered a civil partnership in 2010.
Gay Activist sends condolences to Mr Mronz, family, colleagues and friends.
Westerwelle was born on December 27, 1961 near Bonn, the capital of former West Germany. His parents were both lawyers who divorced when he was only 10. He grew up living with his father and his three brothers.
He was not popular at school. His teachers remembered him as someone who liked to take center stage, but who also came across as well-mannered and conservative as well as vain, loud-mouthed and opinionated.
At 19 Guido Westerwelle became a member of the liberal, pro-business FDP, and soon took over as chairperson of the party’s youth organization, the “Young Liberals.” At the age of 39 he became FDP party chairman, which he was to remain for 10 years from 2001 to 2011. He experimented with new campaign tactics, traveling through the country in his yellow “Guidomobile” van and appearing in the “Big Brother” reality TV show.
His speeches in parliament were the highlight of debates. His hard work resulted in the FDP reaching 14.6 percent in general elections in 2009, making it possible for conservative chancellor Angela Merkel to enter into a conservative coalition with the FDP after four years of grand coalition with the SPD.