’Stormin Norman’ Schwarzkopf dead at 78

Norman Schwarzkopf, the US general who led 1991 Operation Desert Storm, which liberated Kuwait from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has died at the age of 78, a US official said Thursday.

Schwarzkopf, an American hero known popularly as "Stormin Norman," died in Tampa, where he retired after his last military posting as commander-in-chief of US Central Command, an official with knowledge of the matter told AFP.

Former president George H. W. Bush, himself sick in intensive care in Texas, was 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, epitomized the ’duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises," Bush said.

"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."

Copyright © 2012 AFP