Nguyen Cao Ky, the former leader of South Vietnam, has died. He was 81 years old.
His family said Ky died Saturday at a hospital in Malaysia where he was being treated for respiratory complications.
Ky served as commander of the air force and as prime minister of U.S. backed South Vietnam during the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s.
He also served as vice president under General Nguyen Van Thieu. When Thieu's government in Saigon fell to North Vietnamese troops in 1975, Ky fled the country piloting a helicopter to a U.S. Navy ship.
He and his family eventually settled in the United States.
In 2004, Ky made headlines when he visited Vietnam, dropping his staunchly anti-communist rhetoric.
Ky is survived by six children and 14 grandchildren. A date for his funeral has not been announced.