23/12/2011 05:20 GMT | Updated 23/12/2011 10:01 GMT

Vaclav Havel Dead: World Leaders Gather To Honour Leader And Dissident (Video)

World leaders are gathering in Prague for the funeral of Czech president Vaclav Havel, who died on Sunday at the age of 75.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband, former US President Bill Clinton, are among those attending the funeral mass to be held at St Vitus Cathedral.

They will be joined by Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Also attending the funeral of the man who led the 1989 overthrow of communism in the former Czechoslovakia will be Poland's former president, Lech Walesa, who like Havel was regarded as a dissident by authorities in his own country.

Havel was seen as a symbol of democracy and freedom, and known for his mantra of "living in truth".

Thousands of people have already paid their respects to Havel, whose body has been lying in state at Prague Castle since Wednesday and the public will be able to follow the funeral on large screens at the castle and in Hiradcany Square. There will also be a minute's silence at noon in honour of the former Czech president.

Havel quickly became leader of Czechoslovakia when communism fell in 1989 and the playwright moved from political prisoner to world leader in a matter of months. When the country split in 1993, he remained as Czech president until 2003.