Germany’s former Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, died Friday morning at the age of 54 in the University Hospital of Cologne, BILD announced.

Just a year after he retired from politics in 2013 when his party, the Free Democrats (FDP), lost all of its seats in the German parliament, Westerwelle was diagnosed with leukemia.

Not only was he well-respected for his work with Chancellor Angela Merkel, but Westerwelle also made history for being the first openly gay Foreign Minister (2009-2013) and Vice-Chancellor (2011-2013) of Germany.

Husband Michael Mronz published his thoughts on Westerwelle’s charity homepage, The Westerwelle Foundation minutes after his death.

“We fought. The goal-line was in front of our eyes. We are thankful for an incredible good time. Love remains.”

His death comes in a time of a rising radical right wing. The refugee crisis and Germany’s acceptance of over 1 million refugees has brought many Neo-Nazis and closet-racists to the streets, while Merkel’s support decreases for week after week.

 

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