Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva/File Photo

The last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, Russian media reported, citing officials at the Central Clinical Hospital.

Gorbachev’s office said earlier that he was undergoing treatment at the hospital, reported The Associated Press.

Gorbachev was in power when the Soviet Union disintegrated and his foreign policy he promoted led to the end of the Cold War without bloodshed in 1991.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Gorbachev forged arms reduction deals with the United States and partnerships with Western powers to remove the Iron Curtain that had divided Europe since World War Two and bring about the reunification of Germany.

When pro-democracy protests swept across the Soviet bloc nations of communist Eastern Europe in 1989, he refrained from using force, but the protests fuelled aspirations for autonomy in the 15 republics of the Soviet Union, which subsequently disintegrated over the next two years.

Gorbachev struggled, in vain, to prevent that collapse.