a brilliant mind, lange, dies.

  1. 4,271 Posts.
    One of the best minds I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing in action. Died so young, too. A great loss to NZ and the world.

    Former New Zealand PM Lange dies

    By NZ correspondent Gillian Bradford and agencies

    Former New Zealand prime minister David Lange has died in a Wellington hospital at the age of 63.

    A statement from his family says he died from complications brought on by renal failure.

    "It is with sadness that we announce the passing of The Right Honourable David Lange," the family statement said, according to the New Zealand Press Association.

    "Mr Lange died from the complications of renal failure with his close family by his side."

    Mr Lange, who was only 41 when he came to power in 1984, was widely acclaimed as the architect of his country's anti-nuclear policies.

    His five years as prime minister were some of the most turbulent in New Zealand.

    Mr Lange declared the country nuclear-free and told the United States its warships were not welcome.

    His government also revamped an ailing economy, introducing a goods and services tax, floating the New Zealand dollar, and freeing controls on interest rates, banking and foreign exchange.

    Mr Lange, a former Methodist lay preacher, was well loved for his sense of humour and sharp tongue. He is survived by his wife and four children.

    He was taken to hospital on July 15 and had his right leg amputated below the knee after a complication of diabetes.

    In 2002, he was diagnosed with a rare incurable plasma disorder which causes a build-up of excess protein from bone marrow and damages the organs.
    Rainbow Warrior

    It was Mr Lange's ban on all nuclear-powered ships and those carrying nuclear weapons from New Zealand ports which saw him leap to international prominence.

    The move enraged the United States and led to the country's suspension from the regional security alliance with the United States and Australia, ANZUS.

    Mr Lange also clashed with France after French agents bombed the Rainbow Warrior, flagship of the environmental group Greenpeace, in Auckland harbour in 1985 as it prepared to sail to the French South Pacific nuclear testing area of Mururoa.

    Mr Lange described the bombing as "a sordid act of state-backed terrorism".

    He resigned from the top job in 1989 and retired at the 1996 general election to spend more time with his second wife and former speech writer Margaret Pope and their young daughter.

    He fought a long battle with obesity - he once weighed 168 kilograms - and cited health as one reason why he stood down.

    He had heart surgery in 1988 and 1996, and earlier had his stomach stapled to reduce his eating.
 
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