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Yury Luzhkov, Who Steered Moscow's Post-Soviet Transformation As Mayor, Dies At 83

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) speaks with former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov after awarding him during a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow in September 2016.

MOSCOW -- Former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who led the capital for almost two decades and oversaw its post-Soviet transformation, has died at the age of 83.

Timur Shogenov, Luzhkov's aide, said that the former Moscow mayor died on December 10 in a hospital in Munich.

He gave no details but local media reported that Luzhkov, a political heavyweight of the Boris Yeltsin era, underwent heart surgery that was initially considered successful but died afterward due to complications.

The Russian Embassy in Berlin said it was in contact with representatives of the family and assisting in the preparation of documents as it resolves the issue of repatriating Luzhkov’s body.

"Luzhkov was … the real 'mayor' of the capital, who was respected and trusted by Muscovites," President Vladimir Putin said in a statement.

"In difficult years, at the turn of the historical eras, he did a lot for the development of Moscow, in order for it to become one of the leaders in the revival of Russia," he added.

Luzhkov took over at City Hall in the Russian capital in 1992 and held the post until being fired in 2010 by the Kremlin, which said it had lost trust in him.

Despite persistent accusations of kickbacks and corruption allegations, Luzhkov was very popular among Moscow residents.

"I am sincerely sorry that this energetic cheerful person who headed Moscow in the difficult post-Soviet period and did so much for the city and Muscovites. Condolences to family and friends," current Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a tweet.

Luzhkov disappeared from public life after his dismissal until 2016, when Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded him with a state medal for "service to the fatherland."

With reporting by Izvestia, Rossia-24, and REN-TV
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