BEIJING - Liu Huaqing, former vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission and the father of the modern Chinese navy, has died aged 95.
Liu died on Friday morning of an undisclosed illness, according to a statement issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
"Comrade Liu Huaqing was an excellent Party member, a faithful Communist fighter, outstanding proletarian, politician, soldier, and outstanding leader of the State and Party," State broadcaster CCTV quoted the official obituary as saying.
Liu commanded the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy from 1982 to 1988 and is credited with revitalizing the coastal patrol force and setting it on course to becoming a powerful navy.
Liu was an ardent champion of an aircraft carrier program. In his 2004 memoirs Liu noted that he began investigating the construction of domestic aircraft carriers in 1970.
Liu, born in Central China's Hubei province in 1916, joined the CPC in 1935. He lived through many of the seminal events of the Party's history, including the 1934-1935 Long March. He served with the PLA throughout the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the following civil war.