Jacques Chirac, the former French president, has died aged 86.
“President Jacques Chirac died this morning surrounded by his family, peacefully,” his son-in-law told AFP.
Mr Chirac served two terms as French president and took his country into the single European currency.
For several years he had suffered from memory loss said to be linked to a form of Alzheimer’s disease or to the minor stroke that he had while in office.
Chirac, who was head of state from 1995 to 2007, boasted one of the longest continuous political careers in Europe – twice president, twice prime minister and 18 years as mayor of Paris.
Among his success stories in office was his fight to improve road safety which was calculated to have saved 8,500 lives in four years.
Though his later years were blighted by corruption scandals, ended compulsory military service and reduced the presidential term from seven years to five.