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Blair pays tribute to Holbrooke

Tributes are being paid to a "remarkable" US diplomat who helped bring peace to Bosnia.

Former prime minister Tony Blair joined American politicians in honouring Richard Holbrooke, who died in hospital at the age of 69 following emergency surgery for a torn aorta.

The veteran diplomat was the architect of the 1995 Bosnia peace plan, brokering the Dayton Peace Accords.

He also served as President Barack Obama's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan

With a style which led to him being nicknamed the Bulldozer or Raging Bull, Mr Holbrooke served under every Democratic president from John F Kennedy to Barack Obama. His career began with a foreign service posting in Vietnam in 1962 after graduating from Brown University.

Mr Obama described the diplomat as "a true giant of American foreign policy", adding he was "a truly unique figure who will be remembered for his tireless diplomacy, love of country, and pursuit of peace".

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "Richard Holbrooke served the country he loved for nearly half a century, representing the United States in far-flung war zones and high-level peace talks, always with distinctive brilliance and unmatched determination."

Mr Blair said: "He was a remarkable man, a remarkable public servant and someone who contributed enormously to the cause of a more peaceful and just world. He will be deeply mourned by many people in many different nations."

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply saddened" by Mr Holbrooke's death. "He was a formidable force of American diplomacy - an indefatigable champion in the cause of peace, who worked tirelessly for a better world," he said.

New York-born Mr Holbrooke was admitted to George Washington University Hospital in Washington DC on Friday and had surgery on Saturday to repair a torn aorta.

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