Vaclav Havel Coffin
Vaclav Havel's widow Dagmar and her daughter Nina follow the hearse transporting the body of the late Czech leader to Prague Castle, where it will be on display for citizens to pay their respects until a state funeral is held for him on Friday. (Reuters) Reuters

The body of former Czech President Vaclav Havel has been transported to Prague Castle, where it will lie in state for a period of official mourning until his funeral on Friday.

Havel died on Sunday at his country home in Hradecek, northeast of Prague, at the age of 75 after suffering a prolonged period of ill health.

His coffin was transported through the streets of the Czech capital in a black hearse - along what is known as the Royal Route - followed in a procession by members of his family and well-wishers from the general public.

Thousands of people lined the streets along the way to pay their respects to the man who led the 1989 Velvet Revolution that overthrew communism in Czechoslovakia.

They also gathered in Wenceslas Square to light candles in his honour.

A state funeral is due to take place on Friday. It will be the Czech Republic's first state funeral since the breakup of Czechoslovakia and is expected to be attended by dignitaries from around the world.

Following the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, Havel became president in 1989 and oversaw the division of the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

After he left office in 2003, Havel continued to write plays, essays and poems.

He had suffered from chronic respiratory problems dating back to his years of imprisonment under communism.

At the time of his death, Havel was chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation.