Actor, humanitarian Karlheinz Boehm dies

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Addis Ababa, 31 May 2014 (WIC) – Austrian actor Karlheinz Boehm, who founded Menschen fuer Menschen ("People for People"), an aid group dedicated to helping people in Ethiopia, has died. Boehm, who was 86, died at his home near Salzburg, Austria on Thursday.


Boehm received numerous honors for his charitable work, including the Balzan Prize in 2007 and the Essel Social Prize in 2011 as well as.
In 2003 the Ethiopian government conferred an honorary Ethiopian citizenship in recognition to his charity works in the country. A statue of him erected in "Karl Square" in Addis Ababa in 2011 is among few of the recognitions for his works in Ethiopia.


His charity group Menschen fuer Menschen set up numerous schools, hospitals, dug up wells and worked to improve the lives of women in various part of the country.
In 2002 the Austrian state honored him for his decades-long commitment to Ethiopia. More awards followed in Germany.


In a statement issued on Friday, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressed sorrow and sent out his condolences to his family and friends.
In 1991, Boehm married Almaz Teshome, a native of Ethiopia, with whom he has two children. Last December, she gave up her position as CEO of Humans for Humans in order to care for her ailing husband. He is also survived by five children from his previous marriages.


Boehm, who is affectionately referred to as ‘Obo Karl’ in Oromia region, was born in 1928, the only child of renowned Austrian conductor Karl Boehm and singer Thea Linhard. Prior to his charity works, Boehm was a renowned Austrian actor staring in hit TV series and movies.


A statement from Böhm's foundation issued on Friday (30.05.2014) said "The world has lost a courageous visionary and tireless fighter for justice." On his 80th birthday, Böhm was asked if he regretted giving up his acting career. His reply: "If I compare saving a human life and all the experiences I had as an actor - what is there to miss?"