Hanoi — Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, who was the mastermind behind victories over the French and the Americans, has died at age 102 in Hanoi.
General Giap was a national hero whose legacy was second only to founding President Ho Chi Minh, and was the last of Vietnam’s old-guard revolutionaries.
He died Friday evening in a Hanoi military hospital where he had spent nearly four years suffering from long illnesses, according to reports.
He defeated the French in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu, which ended French colonial rule in Southeast Asia.
Giap was the defence minister of North Vietnam at the time of the 1968 Tet Offensive, a key campaign that would eventually lead to the Americans’ withdrawal from Vietnam.
He later defeated the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese government in April of 1975, a victory that reunited Vietnam into one nation again.
Giap told the Associated Press in 2005 that “No other wars for national liberation were as fierce or caused as many losses as this war,” in reference to the war against the Americans.
“But we still fought because for Vietnam, nothing is more precious than independence and freedom, he said.
United States Senator John McCain, who was shot down during the war in Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war, upon hearing of Giap’s death reportedly tweeted that General Giap was “a brilliant military strategist who once told me that we were an honourable enemy”. Image/AFP