"Former Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek, a popular politician who helped lead the country to independence from Yugoslavia, died Saturday, his office said. He was 57.
Drnovsek, who battled cancer for years, became a political icon in part for working to keep violence at a minimum when Slovenia gained independence in 1991. He later led the country to European Union and NATO membership.
In recent years, Drnovsek made a radical shift to a holistic lifestyle and wrote several New Age-influenced books.
Mild-mannered but resolute, Drnovsek served as prime minister from 1992 to 2002, after which he became president. He did not run for a second term in elections late last year and was replaced by Danilo Turk in December.
His office gave no specific cause of his death."