BERLIN, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Markus Wolf, head of former East Germany's spy network who was known as the "man without a face" because of his low profile, has died at age 83.
His family said he died in his sleep at his home in Berlin, reports the BBC.
Wolf played a major role in the Cold War but was so elusive Western intelligence did not even have his picture.
Wolf, who had been a journalist at the 1945 Nuremberg trails, told the BBC last year that Nazi crimes influenced his later life "because anti-fascism became the raison d'etre of my life."
As head of the Ministry of State Security, or Stasi, foreign intelligence arm from the 1950s, he had about 4,000 spies working for him, some of whom had deeply infiltrated the West German government, the report said. One spy's closeness led to the resignation of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt.
Wolf fled to Moscow after 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, but returned to a reunited Germany to serve a two-year suspended sentence for treason and kidnapping, the report said. He claimed the United States once offered to bring him to California with a big salary but that he turned it down.