‘One of my heroes’: Arnold Schwarzenegger joins politicians and historians in paying tribute to Gorbachev

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Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined legions of politicians and writers in paying tribute to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who was reported dead on Tuesday at age 91.

“There’s an old saying, ‘Never meet your heroes,’” the Terminator star wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of himself with Gorbachev. “I think that’s some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard.”

“Mikhail Gorbachev was one of my heroes, and it was an honor and a joy to meet him,” Mr Schwarzenegger added. “I was unbelievably lucky to call him a friend. All of us can learn from his fantastic life.”

Numerous admirers around the world praised the Russian leader for helping to preside over the end of the Cold War.

Former US Secretary of State James A Baker III, who dealt regularly with Gorbachev for years on issues like the Berlin Wall and NATO, called the former Soviet leader a “giant.”

“History will remember Mikhail Gorbachev as a giant who steered his great nation towards democracy..." Mr Baker said, Reuters reports.

"He played the critical role in a peaceful conclusion of the Cold War by his decision against using force to hold the empire together,” the US official added. “I found him to be an honest broker and could count on his word despite domestic pressure in Moscow. The free world misses him greatly.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated with new information.