Born on August 25, 1934, the influential Iranian politician and writer was the fourth president of the Islamic Republic, serving from 1989 to 1997.
With loss of Hashemi I don't know any other figure with whom I have had so many shared experiences and long history in ups and downs of this era which made history. Some Iranian reformers accused him of involvement in the slaying of liberals and dissidents during his presidency - charges that were not pursued by Iranian authorities.
And Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for financial and security crimes in 2015, although he insisted his conviction was politically motivated.
Prior to his death, the former president was head of the Expediency Council, a body that advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Rafsanjani was never seen again giving the Friday prayer sermon, the highest spiritual event of the week since the revolution. In addition, he was a member of the Assembly of Experts, which is responsible for appointing the country's next Supreme Leader. He was one of the leaders of the 1979 Islamic revolution, an aide to the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Khamenei sought to maintain Iran as an anti-Western bastion in the Middle East while Rafsanjani supported change.
Elder statesman Hashemi Rafsanjani seen here meeting former Turkish president Turgut Ozal in Tehran in 1984
Official reports indicate that Rafsanjani's brother Mohammad Hashemi said that Rafsanjani was in good condition, but he would go on to die a short time after being visited by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Rafsanjani will be remembered above all for persuading Khomeini to accept a peace deal to end the bloody Iran-Iraq war, during which 1 million people died.
A confidant of Khomeini, Rafsanjani was the speaker of parliament for two consecutive terms until Khomeini's death in 1989. Another presidential comeback bid was snuffed out by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's surprise victory in 2005 elections, which left Mr Rafsanjani and his powerful clan as fierce critics of Mr Ahmadinejad.
Khamenei and his conservative supporters subsequently stripped Rafsanjani of even more of his influence, and two of his children were jailed.
It added he was openly critical of the Iranian government through the years, as he argued for greater political freedoms and the release of political prisoners. Analysts said the sentence was aimed at pressuring Rafsanjani.