One of the most unassuming Greek presidents in modern times, Constantine Stephanopoulos, passed away at the age of 90.
Stephanopoulos entered the hospital with pneumonia and his condition deteriorated rapidly. His doctors had released a statement Saturday saying he was suffering from multiple organ failure and was not responding to treatment.
Known throughout the political spectrum as a beloved politician, the conservative-leaning Stephanopoulos served as President of Greece for two terms, from 1995 to 2005.
Stephanopoulos will be remembered for his blunt remarks to visiting President Bill Clinton in 1999 that shocked many in both the Greek hosting delegation, as well as the visiting U.S. delegation.
As described by Paul Glastris, a former speech writer to President Clinton, “At a state dinner at the Zappeion Hall that evening, the president, First Lady Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the rest of the US entourage, listened to Greek president Costis Stephanopoulos deliver a stern lecture on the perfidy of the Turks and the forgotten suffering of Greek-Cypriot refugees. Some of my colleagues interpreted this as a further sign of disrespect towards Clinton. But the president took it in stride. Perhaps he understood that Stephanopoulos was playing, as we say in America, the “bad cop,” giving voice to Greek public opinion.”