Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, has died after surgery for a torn aorta. The death of the 69-year-old diplomat has been confirmed by a senior Obama administration official. Mr Holbrooke had been in hospital since Friday when he fell ill during a meeting with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in her Washington office. Holbrooke brokered the 1995 accord that ended the Balkans war and was a key player in US president Barack Obama's efforts to turn around the war in Afghanistan that began in late 2001. One of America's most experienced diplomats, the hard-nosed troubleshooter was dubbed "the bulldozer" for his impatient, hard-charging style.