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Seventy-six-year-old Boris, whose demise was announced by the Kremlin on Monday, leaves the new Russia as his legacy. He won international acclaim as the defender of democracy when in August 1991 he courageously mounted a tank in Moscow to defy a hard-line Communist coup
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Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin dies aged 76

23 APRIL 2007

The man who helped usher in democracy in Russia has died aged 76. A Kremlin spokesman confirmed on Monday that Boris Yeltsin, who became the country's first elected president in 1991, had passed away - thought to be due to a heart trouble.

He leaves behind his wife Naina Yeltsina and their two daughters Elena and Tatiana. The couple, who met while Boris was still an engineering student, also have several grandchildren.

Boris, who was born to a peasant family in the Ural mountains in 1931, announced his retirement on the last day of the 20th century, handing over power to Vladimir Putin. Since then he has largely remained out of the public eye.

During the latter part of his nine-year leadership the Russian premier's health started to deteriorate and he underwent a quintuple heart bypass in 1996. This was followed by a bout of pneumonia, however, from which he never really recovered. In 2005 he had a hip operation after breaking his leg while vacationing in Sardinia.

Boris and his wife Naina had been enjoying retirement with their family of late. "Life has flown by and brought us many happy moments," she said in a recent interview with HELLO! magazine. "I can say that I've always felt safe with him; he was the one to make all the most important decision and he was never wrong. He's an incredibly deep person and has great intuition."

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