Former Czech Social Democrat prime minister had a serious disease
Prague, April 16 (ČTK) — Former Czech Social Democrat (ČSSD) Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has died after a serious disease, aged 45, a source close to his family told the Czech News Agency today and ČSSD spokeswoman Eva Gregorová confirmed the information.
According to the media, Gross suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in which the cells that control muscle movement are gradually dying. The ailment is known to Americans in particular as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the famed ball player.
Gross was interior minister between 2000 and 2004 in the Social Democrat governments of Miloš Zeman (2000–02) and Vladimír Špidla (2002–04).
He was prime minister between July 2004 and April 2005. Later in the same year, he withdrew from politics.
Gross recently did not appear in the public and was treated privately.
He and his family refused to speak about his illness, but his health condition was considerably deteriorating.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD) recently saw Gross, but he did not want to elaborate on the visit, calling it private.
President Miloš Zeman expressed condolences to Gross’ family today.
Zeman was Gross’s best man in 1996, but later, he took a dislike to him because Gross, along with other ČSSD members, allegedly did not support him in the presidential election in 2003.
Gross, a candidate for an engine driver, was the ČSSD’s promising member in the 1990s. In 1992, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies and in 2004 when he was 34, he became the youngest Czech prime minister.
His promising political career was wrecked by a scandal with the dubious acquisition of a flat. He lost premiership after a mere eight months. Afterwards he became a lawyer.
The unclear origin of the money for which he bought the flat in Prague was not the sole scandal connected with him. In 2007, he earned dozens of millions of crowns in a transaction with the shares of one of the leading domestic power dealers, Moravia Energo. He bought the shares for 20 million Kč two years after he left premiership and he sold them for five times the price a mere half-year later.
Gross had two daughters by his second marriage.
He has been the first post-communist prime minister to die.