Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger - who shaped foreign policy for decades - has died aged 100.

The American politician died at his home in Connecticut, according to a statement made by Kissinger Associates, Inc., his geopolitical consulting firm. He is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Nancy Maginnes Kissinger, two children from his first marriage, and five grandchildren.

Kissinger was born in Germany in 1923 and his family fled Nazi Germany in 1938 for America and became an American citizen in 1943. He taught international relations at Harvard University for close to 20 years before being appointed the National Security Advisor for President Richard Nixon in 1969.

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Kissinger shaped decades of US foreign policy (
Daily Mirror)

He was appointed his Secretary Of State in 1973 and served under him and Gerald Ford until 1977. During his time as Secretary of State, Kissinger was involved in controversial policies like the United State's involvement in a Chilean military coup in 1973 that allowed dictator Augusto Pinochet and his regime to take power, which led to thousands dead and missing, and the bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War that led to thousands reportedly dead though Kissinger insisted the area was unpopulated.

In 2015 at the Senate Armed Services Committee, the then 91-year-old was met with protests demanding his arrest in relation to what they believed were war crimes such as giving the "green light" to the Argentinan dictator General Jorge Rafael Videla's regime to crackdown on protestors which led to various murders and kidnappings across the country with thousands of Argentina still missing to this day.

However, Kissinger played a central role in opening up relations with China and negotiating the Paris Peace Accords. He's credited with the first "shuttle diplomacy" tactic in the Middle East while negotiating the end of the Yom Kippur War.

A 2015 survey named Kissinger the most effective Secretary of State over the 50 years prior, despite his controversial status. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his efforts in ending the Vietnam War with the Paris Peace Accords. Two years after his negotiations, Saigon fell to the communists.

Kissinger advised twelve presidents (
Sygma via Getty Images)

Kissinger played a key role in persuing detente with the Soviet Union which led to arms control agreements and gave hope that nuclear threat would not last forever. In 1972, in a poll of Playboy Club Bunnies, Kissinger was dubbed "Super-K" by Newsweek and finished first as "the man I would most like to go out on a date with." In response, Kissinger said: "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."

During his political career, Kissinger advised 12 presidents from John F. Kennedy to Joe Biden. He was also present frequently during Trump's years in the White House. Kissinger also rubbed elbows with British power players like Diana, Princess of Wales and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He spoke highly of both women and described the late princess as someone who "desperately wanted to make a difference in this world."

He was a controversial figure in politics (
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

He also praised the controversial Thatcher as "one of the great figures of modern times." When she was forced out of office, Kissinger said publicly that the successful coup against her was "worse than a death in the family."

Over the years, Nixon-era documents and audio tapes have been released that cast Kissinger in a negative light. Some believe during Nixon's Watergate scandal, he used the opportunity to take a role similar to co-president and use the scandal for his own political gain. “No doubt my vanity was piqued,” Kissinger later wrote of his expanding influence. “But the dominant emotion was a premonition of catastrophe.”

He was involved in current affairs late into his life (
MediaNews Group via Getty Images)

After leaving politics, critics of the politician called for him to be held accountable for his actions regarding Southeast Asia and Latin America. He was asked in July 2022 by ABC News if he regrets any of his controversial decisions.

"I've been thinking about these problems all my life," he told the news channel, "It's my hobby as well as my occupation. And so the recommendations I made were the best of which I was then capable." During a CBS interview in the leadup to his 100th birthday about those who view his conduct of foreign policy over the years as a kind of “criminality,” Kissinger was nothing but dismissive.

Kissinger also wrote over 21 books on national security matters and was recently on tour for his book, Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy last year at the age of 99. When he turned 100 in May of this year, his son David wrote a column in the Washington Post. He said that his father's age "might have an air of inevitability for anyone familiar with his force of character and love of historical symbolism. Not only has he outlived most of his peers, eminent detractors and students, but he has also remained indefatigably active throughout his 90s."

Some of Kissinger's critics included the late chef Anthony Bourdain and current US Senator Bernie Sanders. After traveling to Cambodia, Bourdain said: "Once you've been to Cambodia, you'll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands."

Earlier this year, China's top diplomat Wang Yi praised Kissinger for his role in bridging a bond between the US and China. He described Kissinger as an "old friend” who “played an irreplaceable role in enhancing understanding between the two countries." Even in his late years, Kissinger was vocal and involved in current international affairs. He traveled to China in July of this year to meet with their leader Xi Jinping and most recently warned of a similar Middle Eastern war after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

Kissinger recently visted China (
Bettmann Archive)

Various world leaders have shared their tributes after Kissinger's death. Former New York City mayor and Republican presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said Kissinger was "endlessly generous with the wisdom gained over the course of an extraordinary life."

Former US president George W Bush and his wife Laura issued a statement that they would miss Kissinger's "wisdom, his charm and his humor." Bush also added: "America has lost one of the most dependable and distinctive voices on foreign affairs with the passing of Henry Kissinger. I have long admired the man who fled the Nazis as a young boy from a Jewish family, then fought them in the United States Army. I am grateful for that service and advice, but I am most grateful for his friendship."

Mike Pompeo, a fellow former secretary of state tweeted: "I will always be grateful for his gracious advice and help during my own time as Secretary. Always supportive and always informed, his wisdom made me better and more prepared after every one of our conversations."

Nixon's daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, said their father and Kissinger were part of "a partnership that produced a generation of peace for our nation." Their statement read: "Dr. Kissinger played an important role in the historic opening to the People's Republic of China and in advancing detente with the Soviet Union, bold initiatives which initiated the beginning of the end of the Cold War. His "shuttle diplomacy" to the Middle East helped to advance the relaxation of tensions in that troubled region of the world."