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Statement by Lennart Meri’s family members


Yesterday, in the early morning of 14 March, we lost a husband, father, grandfather, Lennart Meri. There are no words to explain what it means to lose someone close to you, to describe the pain. It is a great comfort for us that there are so many people who share our pain.

Lennart Meri had a cyst removed from his brain area, in the Northern Tallinn Regional Hospital, on 9 August last year. The surgery was carried out by Mihkel Leiner, the Chief Doctor of the Neurosurgery Centre of the Northern Tallinn Regional Hospital, and Toomas Asser, the Head of the Neurology Clinic of the University of Tartu.

During the surgery, a cyst filled with liquid was removed from the brain to prevent an increase in intracranial pressure. The surgery was completed without any complications; at first, Lennart Meri was in a good condition and recovering from the surgery without any setbacks.

Unfortunately, the progression of the disease and later examinations revealed that the tumour was malignant. The growing weakness of the left side of the body, caused by the tumour, resulted in restricted movement. This, in turn, brought about health problems that required repeated hospitalisation to stabilise the general condition which was not good.

In November, Lennart Meri was hospitalised to treat phlebitis. However, he and our entire family were pleased to spend Christmas of 2005 at home together, at Kabelineeme in Viimsi. From the beginning of this year, Lennart Meri was under continuous medical supervision in the Magdaleena hospital.

We are deeply grateful to all the doctors of the Magdaleena, Mustamäe and Viimsi hospitals, particularly to Dr. Kahro Tall and Dr. Ann Raadik, who took such good care of Lennart Meri. We would also like to thank the nurses who helped during home treatment and whom we learned to know well, and who continued the heart-warming and close cooperation with our family that the nurses of the Magdaleena hospital had begun.

The period of the illness was a time that our family spent together, supporting each other. The time spent with a husband, father and grandfather was more precious than ever before. We cherished this time until the last moment, until the very last evening that came on Monday.

The post-mortem examination showed that the direct cause of Lennart Meri’s death had been cerebral oedema, caused by the earlier malignant tumour in his brain.

With the death of Lennart Meri, we lost the head of our family, and Estonia lost a President. Lennart Meri will say his farewell to his homes in Nõmme and Viimsi next Friday, 24 March.

On Saturday, 25 March, the coffin of President Meri will be in the Kaarli church. The church will be open to everyone. On Sunday, 26 March, people can follow the funeral ceremony and procession of President Meri from the Kaarli church to Kadriorg.

We will say our farewells to Lennart Meri, a husband, father and grandfather, at Metsakalmistu. We believe that people will understand and respect our wish to spend some time with our family there.

We find great comfort in the condolences — in those that we have received and those that continue to arrive. We wish to express our gratitude to you all! Thank you for your understanding that the family needs time and peace to mourn before the final farewell.

In Tallinn, on 15 March 2006

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