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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Herzog Dead at 78

JERUSALEM () -- Chaim Herzog, a distinguished soldier, author and diplomat who was Israel's longest-serving president, died Thursday. He was 78.

Herzog suffered heart failure at 9:25 a.m. after contracting pneumonia during a recent visit to the United States, said Rachel Sofer, spokeswoman of Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv.

When he became Israel's sixth president in May 1983, the nation was divided by the war in Lebanon and facing international isolation.

During his 10 years in office, Herzog made 45 visits abroad and spoke to 13 foreign parliaments -- symbolic of Israel's new international acceptance, especially in Europe.

Herzog won plaudits for his diplomacy and his reporting as military commentator during the 1967 Mideast War, when his balanced and soothing reports put the nation at ease.