French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl after learning about his death, saying “the great achievements of our Europe owe a lot to Helmut KohL”.

Helmut Kohl “was one of the great men of Europe and of the free world,” Macron said in a statement, adding that “as a craftsman of the unification of his country, Helmut Kohl, together with Francois Mitterand, forged the unity of Europe and deepened the Franco-German relationship.”

“Reformer, visionary and integrator, Helmut Kohl marked our collective history,” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Macron also addressed to German chancellor Angela Merkel and to Germany his testimony of sympathy and friendship.

As a leader for Christian Democratic Union(CDU), Kohl was seen as the mentor for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “great sadness” on the passing of former Chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl, saying that “today’s Europe is a product of his (Kohl’s) vision and his tenacity, in the face of enormous obstacles.”

“He played an instrumental role in the peaceful reunification of his country, within a year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and helped set a course for the historic process of Europe’s political and economic integration,” said Guterres in a statement.

Kohl died at his home in Germany’s Ludwigshafen on Friday at the age of 87.

He served as German chancellor between 1982 and 1998 and is well known as the “chancellor of unity”, for his active political plan bringing west and east Germany together.

Under heavy pressure in 1989, he negotiated with the leaders of the US, the former Soviet Union and secured a peaceful and stable Germany reunification, Deutsche Presse Agentur reported.

He is also hailed for his contribution to Europe integration, European single currency and market. He persuaded Germans to give up the then strong Deutsche Mark and adopted EURO.