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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Stasi Chief Wolf Dead at 83

BERLIN -- Markus Wolf, 83, the legendary East German spymaster whose Cold War activities earned him the moniker "The Man Without a Face," has died.

Wolf's publisher said Wolf died peacefully in his sleep in the German capital early Thursday morning, 17 years to the day after the Berlin Wall fell. No cause of death was given.

During his 34 years as a spy, Wolf rose through the ranks of the communist state's Stasi secret police to head its elite foreign-intelligence division, running a network of 4,000 spies.

He masterminded some of the Cold War's most audacious operations, including the planting of an agent close to West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in a move that brought about Brandt's downfall when the spy was exposed in 1974.

"I can't say I'm proud of what I did, I'm not," Wolf told Reuters in 1997. "But I don't think I've lived for nothing."

After the Wall fell in 1989, Wolf escaped to Russia where he remained until Russian communism collapsed. He was then handed over to his old Western foes and charged with treason in 1993, receiving a six-year sentence, which was later suspended.