Prominent German conservative Peter Hintze dies at 66

Peter Hintze, a deputy speaker of Germany's Parliament who was close to Chancellor Angela Merkel, has died. He was 66.

Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union said Sunday that Hintze, who had been suffering from cancer, died during the night. Merkel said in a statement that the party had lost "one of its outstanding personalities."

During a six-year stint as the party's general secretary, responsible for day-to-day political strategy, Hintze organized election campaigns for then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1994 and 1998.

He served Merkel as a deputy minister in the early 1990s when she was minister for women and families. After the Christian Democrats returned to government in 2005, he served as a deputy economy minister and the government's coordinator for aviation policy.