World leaders are offering their condolences at the news that former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze died July 7 at the age of 86 in Tbilisi following a long illness.
Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his "deep condolences" to the Georgian people.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called Shevardnadze "a man of great talents" who was a "sincere supporter of a new mindset in global affairs."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that Shevardnadze "played an instrumental role ... in bringing the Cold War to an end."
Shevardnadze came to international prominence in 1985 when Gorbachev named him foreign minister to oversee warming relations with the West that led to the end of the Cold War.
He became the effective head of state of Georgia in 1992 after the presidency of Zviad Gamsakhurdia collapsed and he was elected parliamentary chairman.
Shevardnadze was elected president in 1995 and reelected in 2000, but his presidency ended with his resignation during the Rose Revolution of 2003.
Based on reporting by AP, dpa, AFP, Echo Moskvy, and Interfax