THE HAGUE, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers died at the age of 78 in Rotterdam on Wednesday, the Netherlands Government Information Service (RVD) announced.
According to the RVD the former politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the Christian Democrats, passed away at home in presence of his wife and children.
Lubbers served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1982 until 1994, leading the country from difficult economic times to prosperity and making him the longest serving PM.
Lubbers started his political career in 1973 as Minister of Economic Affairs in the cabinet of PM Joop den Uyl. From 1977 until 1982 he served as MP and parliamentary leader of the CDA and after the 1982 elections the first cabinet of Lubbers was formed by a coalition with the VVD (Liberals).
After the 1986 elections Lubbers continued as Prime-Minister in another government with the VVD. Following the 1989 elections he led a government for the third time, this time with the PvdA (Labor).
Lubbers announced his retirement from national politics and as CDA Leader in the beginning of 1994. One year later he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State.
"With Ruud Lubbers, the Netherlands loses a statesman with international allure," reacted current Dutch Prime-Minister Mark Rutte. "As prime minister of my youth he guided our country through the difficult 1980s. My thoughts are with his wife and children."
Among other functions after his political career Lubbers became the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2001. His reputation was seriously damaged in 2005 when he was forced to step down due to allegations of sexual harassment.