Mircea Snegur, first president of Moldova, dies at 83

CHISINAU (Reuters) - Moldova's first president, Mircea Snegur, has died at the age of 83, former Moldovan vice-premier Constantin Tampiza said on Thursday.

"On September 13, at 23:30 the (former) President of the Republic of Moldova Mircea Snegur gave up in the fight against an incurable disease," Tampiza wrote on Facebook. He gave no further details.

Snegur, a former communist, was president from 1990 to 1997, overseeing Moldova's breakaway from the Soviet Union and transition to independence.

President Maia Sandu declared Saturday a national day of mourning for Snegur in the small country bordering Romania and Ukraine.

"He lived in historical times and played an important role in promoting the independence, freedom and sovereignty of the country," Sandu wrote on Facebook.

(Reporting by Alexander Tanas, Writing by Max Hunder, Editing by Timothy Heritage)