Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died Sunday after suffering a heart attack, state-run media reported. He was 82.
Rafsanjani was an influential political figure in Iran and earned the nickname Akbar Shah, or Great King, for his often cunning political and business moves.
He served two terms as president, which spanned from 1989 to 1997. Throughout his career, Rafsanjani was seen as the person who could help achieve better relations with the West, CNN reports.
While anti-American, Rafsanjani was main voice in Iran calling for an outreach to the West and the United States & supporter of nuclear deal— Thomas Erdbrink (@ThomasErdbrink) January 8, 2017
Rafsanjani was also a supporter of the current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. After Rouhani was elected in 2013, Rafsanjani took on a sort of "insider role," pushing for direct nuclear talks between the United States and Iran.
Ultimately, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear enrichment in exchange for world powers lifting some economic sanctions.
After the news of Rafsanjani's death circulated, Rouhani praised the former president.
"The spirit of the giant of the revolution and politics, the symbol of patience and resilience has soared to the skies," he tweeted.
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, also offered up condolences.
"With the passing of Hashemi, there is no other person I know of with whom I share the long and common experiences of the highs and lows of these historic times," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.