General Norman Schwarzkopf Dies Aged 78

General Norman Schwarzkopf Dies Aged 78

General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the US-led coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War, has died.

The 78-year-old died on Thursday at his home in Tampa, Florida, where he retired after his last military posting as commander-in-chief of US Central Command.

His sister Ruth Barenbaum said he passed away following complications from pneumonia.

A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Gen. Schwarzkopf was known popularly as Stormin' Norman for a notoriously explosive temper.

Former president George HW Bush, himself sick in intensive care in Texas , was the first to issue a statement mourning the loss of the man he chose to lead the war that came to define both of their careers.

"Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation," his statement said.

"A distinguished member of that Long Gray Line hailing from West Point, General Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomised the 'duty, service, country' creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises.

"More than that, he was a good and decent man - and a dear friend. Barbara and I send our condolences to his wife Brenda and his wonderful family."

During the 1991 Gulf War, he became the public face of the coalition troops who ousted Hussein's forces from Kuwait.

After retiring from the Army in 1992, Gen. Schwarzkopf wrote a best-selling autobiography It Doesn't Take A Hero.

He was knighted by the Queen and honoured with decorations from France, Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

At the peak of his post-war national celebrity Gen. Schwarzkopf - a self-proclaimed political independent - rejected attempts to persuade him to run for high office.