HENRY Kissinger’s son has told how the former diplomat managed to live to over 100 – despite eating a “heavy diet” of bratwurst and schnitzel.
The former U.S. Secretary of State, who served during the Nixon and Ford administrations, died at his home in Connecticut on Wednesday.
Before his death, Kissinger was the last surviving member of President Richard Nixon’s Cabinet.
And while no cause of death was given, Kissinger’s son previously offered insight into the diplomat’s lifestyle in the months before he died.
“Not only has he outlived most of his peers, eminent detractors, and students, but he has also remained indefatigably active throughout his 90s,” Kissinger’s son, David, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in May, days before Kissinger’s 100th birthday.
“My father’s longevity is especially miraculous when one considers the health regimen he has followed throughout his adult life.
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“Which includes a diet heavy on bratwurst and Wiener schnitzel, a career of relentlessly stressful decision-making, and a love of sports purely as a spectator, never a participant.”
Kissinger remained active in politics up until his death and met with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing in July.
Photos showed the two politicians sitting in chairs, turned toward one another as Jinping spoke animatedly with his hands.
“We will never forget our old friend and your historic contribution to promoting the development of Sino-US relations and enhancing the friendship between the Chinese and American peoples,” Jinping said of Kissinger in July.
The controversial diplomat had also recently participated in the Bilderberg conference in Lisbon and was working on a third book after writing two during the Covid pandemic.
“He has an unquenchable curiosity that keeps him dynamically engaged with the world,” Kissinger’s son David said of his father.
“His mind is a heat-seeking weapon that identifies and grapples with the existential challenges of the day.”
One of Kissinger’s last-known public appearances came on October 24, 2023, when he attended a black-tie Gala Dinner hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations.
He was pictured sitting in a wheelchair alongside Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at The Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.
KISSINGER’S LONG LIFE
Kissinger was born in Germany in 1923 and he and his family fled Nazi rule in 1938.
In 1943, he became an American citizen, served three years in the Army then entered the Army Reserves until 1959.
He went on to receive his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.
He taught international relations at the university for almost two decades before heading into politics.
Kissinger served as US Secretary of State from September 23, 1973, to January 20, 1977.
He was the first person to hold that position as well as serve as National Security Advisor.
During his time in the White House, Kissinger was instrumental in helping to negotiate opening barriers with China and ending the Yom Kippur War and America’s role in the Vietnam War.
However, his legacy is marred with controversy.
Some felt he needed to be held accountable for his policies on Southeast Asia, as well as his support of repressive regimes in Latin America.
One way Kissinger aimed to settle the conflict in Vietnam was through secret bombings of Cambodia and the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and a ground invasion of Cambodia in 1970.
Critics said the move extended the war and cost more lives.
When asked about people who viewed some of his foreign policy conduct as a form of “criminality” in a CBS interview ahead of his 100th birthday, Kissinger brushed off the allegations.
“That’s a reflection of their ignorance,” Kissinger said. “It wasn’t conceived that way. It wasn’t conducted that way.”
The former Secretary of State was also reprimanded for authorizing wiretaps of reporters, as well as his own staff, to plug news leaks in the White House.
During a press tour for his book in 2022, he was asked if he wished he could take back any of his decisions.
He admitted that he resigned to the fact that he did the best with what he had.
“I’ve been thinking about these problems all my life. It’s my hobby as well as my occupation,” he said.
“And so, the recommendations I made were the best of which I was then capable.”
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