Former Estonian President Lennart Meri pictured in 2000 (epa)
March 14, 2006 -- Former Estonian President Lennart Meri has died in Tallinn following a lengthy illness. He was 76.
Meri was president of the Baltic republic from 1992 to 2001 and played a key role in the consolidation of the country after it gained independence from the Soviet Union.
Current Estonian President Arnold Ruutel declared March 15 a national day of mourning.