Veteran politician Edgar Savisaar died in East-Tallinn Central Hospital on Thursday afternoon.
Edgar Savisaar, legendary Estonian politician, dies at 72
Savisaar, born on May 31, 1950, was one of the key figures of Estonia's restoration of independence, a legendary politician and one of the founders of the Popular Front.
Savisaar was the head of the transitional government at the time of the restoration of independence from 1990 to 1992 and longtime chairman of the Estonian Center Party.
The government led by Savisaar took office on April 3, 1990, when Estonia was still formally part of the Soviet Union, and was in office for a total of 639 days until Jan. 30, 1992. In subsequent years, Savisaar also served as the minister of the interior and the minister of economic affairs and communications.
The Supreme Council, Estonia's then legislative body, declared the country's independence from the Soviet Union on Aug. 20, 1991.
President: Without Savisaar, Estonian politics would have been duller
In his remarks published in the wake of the news of the demise of veteran politician Edgar Savisaar, Estonian President Alar Karis said that without Savisaar, Estonian politics would have been duller.
"Three decades of Estonian politics would have been duller without Edgar Savisaar, and less colorful. We will remember the important role he played in the restoration of Estonia's independence, when he first led the Popular Front and then the government, and later in shaping the Estonian party landscape, as the chairman of the Center Party," Karis said. "The vigor of his thoughts and actions, also the occasional contradictoriness, deservedly earned him the nickname Rhinoceros."
"I express my deepest condolences to Edgar Savisaar's family, friends and everyone for whom he was important," the head of state said.
Estonian PM: We both know the worries, pains of prime minister's job
In her remarks on the passing of veteran politician Edgar Savisaar, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that although she never came into contact with Savisaar in politics, they are united by the fact that they both know the worries and pains of being prime minister.
"From my childhood, I have several major memories of Edgar Savisaar. I remember that as a child, I danced in the folk dance collective 'Soleke,' which had been asked to perform at events of his election campaign. And from later on, I remember how Edgar Savisaar, together with my father and many others, worked courageously for the restoration of Estonia's independence," Kaja Kallas, leader of the Reform Party, said on social media.
The head of government and party leader noted that she never had the opportunity to discuss the present and future issues of Estonia with Savisaar as a politician.
"It was only for a few years that we were both in politics at the same time and work did not bring us together -- he was the mayor of Tallinn, I was a member of the Riigikogu for the first time. But we are united by the fact that we both know from our own experience the worries and pains of being prime minister," Kallas said.
She noted that it is a nice tradition in Estonia that once a year, before the Day of Restoration of Independence, the sitting prime minister invites all the previous prime ministers of Estonia to Stenbock House, the seat of the government, for lunch.
"This summer, Edgar, too, was in our circle. We all discussed life in Estonia and world events, and everyone stated that every prime minister has their own challenges, but one day it all will be past them," Kallas recalled.
"Yes, Edgar Savisaar was controversial, but he was nevertheless a politician with a brilliant mind, a great personality, and he has a definitive place in Estonian history. We are grateful for everything he did for the restoration of Estonia's independence. Thank you, Edgar, and a good journey to you," Kallas said, offering her condolences to Savisaar's loved ones.