Peter Struck is seen in a 2010 photo. (STEPHANIE PILICK / AFP)
BONN — Former German Defense Minister Peter Struck died on Dec. 19 after suffering a heart attack a day earlier. He was 69.
He was taken to Charité hospital in Berlin, where he passed away.
Struck was a member of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). He was the country’s defense minister from July 2002 to November 2005 in the government of former chancellor Gerhard Schröder. At the beginning of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, Struck then said “German security is also defended at the Hindu Kush.” The Hindu Kush is a mountain range running from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan.
During his time as defense minister, Struck was known for traveling around in order to get into close contact with the troops at home and on missions.
“With him Germany loses a straight and authentic character who did embody the defense politics of the country like hardly anybody else,” said Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière.
Col. Ulrich Kirsch, head of the soldiers association German Bundeswehrverband, called Struck’s relationship with the troops pleasantly relaxed.
“He was a real friend of the soldiers, also after his term in office,” he said.
Struck had been a member of the German Bundestag from 1980 to 2009. One of his jobs there had been chairman of the Social Democratic parliamentary group, which he did for eight years. His last position had been president of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.