Berlin: Hannelore Schmidt, wife and
childhood sweetheart of former German chancellor Helmut
Schmidt, has died aged 91, his office said on Thursday.
Known affectionately by her husband and the wider public
as "Loki", the popular chain-smoker Schmidt passed away
overnight at her home in the northern city of Hamburg.
Her health had deteriorated since she broke a foot after
a heavy fall at home.
The renowned trained biologist formed a powerful couple
with her husband, whom she married in 1942. They were known
for their strong bond.
She published a series of books and campaigned for the
protection of wildflowers in Germany. Since 1980, she has
selected Germany`s "flower of the year."
In a column entitled "Long live Helmut and Loki," mass
circulation daily Bild wrote earlier this month that they were
"the best proof that even today, love can endure until death."
In a recent interview, she had said she and her husband
had dreamt of celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary
together in two years` time.
Helmut Schmidt, a centrist Social Democrat who led West
Germany from 1974 to 1982, steered the country through Cold
War tensions and a bloody wave of terror by far-left radicals
that shook the young country to its core.