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Serbian Film Star Zivojinovic Dead At 82

Velimir Bata Zivojinovic died in Belgrade on May 22.
Velimir Bata Zivojinovic died in Belgrade on May 22.

Velimir Bata Zivojinovic, former Yugoslavia's best-known film star, has died at the age of 82, state media reported on May 23.

Zivojinovic, who was suffering from several chronic conditions and recently had a leg amputated, died late on May 22 in a Belgrade hospital.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic described Zivojinovic as a "titan." The news of his death also resonated in other former Yugoslav republics.

Zivojinovic played in more than 340 big screen and television films, mostly portraying partisans battling the German Nazi occupation during World War II.

His most famous movie, Walter Defends Sarajevo, was seen by hundreds of millions of people in China, turning Zivojinovic into a star in that nation. Each time Zivojinovic visited the country, fans turned out in large numbers to greet him.

But at home, Zivojinovic lost some of his iconic status among liberal Serbs and in other ex-Yugoslav republics when he sided with former Serbian nationalist strongman Slobodan Milosevic during the 1990s conflict.

He is survived by his wife, Julijana Zivojinovic, his son Miljko and daughter Jelena.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa

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