Along with President Gorbachev, he was the most important constructive European leader of the past century.
Underestimated initially, he was a man with a deep sense of history.
I remember him describe movingly how close relatives (including his older brother Walther) had died in both the First and Second World Wars, and said that that was one of the reasons why he was absolutely determined that war should never happen again in Europe.
He understood that the pre war system of relations between states in Europe had to be fundamentally changed, if peace was to be guaranteed.
While he was the man who achieved a united Germany, he also wanted to ensure that a united Germany would be one that would be in total harmony with its neighbours.
He saw the European Union, and the euro, as new arrangements that would tie the interests of his native Germany so closely with all its neighbours, that conflict between them would be unthinkable ever again.
He was prepared to sacrifice the independent Deutschsmark to build a European structure of peace. He understood that there are some causes that transcend economics
He came to Ireland on a state visit, at my invitation when I was Taoiseach, and I met him numerous times while he was Chancellor, and afterwards at EPP meetings during the Convention on the Future of Europe.
He was an inspiring figure, who could be frank to the point of bluntness, if he felt that was what was needed to achieve his goal of profound unity among Europeans.