Former Croatian prime minister Ivica Racan has died of kidney cancer at the age of 63.
A spokeswoman for his opposition Social Democratic Party says Mr. Racan died before dawn Sunday in a clinic in Zagreb.
During his tenure as prime minister from 2000 to 2003, Mr. Racan reformed Croatia's Communist Party into a Western-style social democratic movement after Croatia proclaimed independence from Belgrade in the 1990s.
He is credited with improving Croatia's post-war image, and ending international isolation after years of autocratic rule by the late nationalist president, Franjo Tudjman.
Mr. Racan's death could be a blow to the Social Democrats, who ranked second in most opinion polls ahead of the general election later this year.