Jacques Chirac: Former French president dies at 86
38 minutes ago
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
He was France's second longest serving post-war president
Jacques Chirac, the former French president who championed the European Union, but whose later years were blighted by corruption scandals, has died aged 86.
"President Jacques Chirac died this morning surrounded by his family, peacefully," his son-in-law told AFP.
Chirac served two terms as president, one as prime minister, and took France into the single European currency.
The French National Assembly observed a minute's silence in his memory.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission and former Luxembourg prime minister, said he was "moved and devastated" to learn the news.
"Europe is not only losing a great statesman, but the president is losing a great friend," he said in a statement.
President Emmanuel Macron was expected to speak on television at 20:00 local time (18:00 GMT) to pay tribute to his late predecessor.
Former French President François Hollande also paid homage to Mr Chirac: "I know that today, the French people, whatever their convictions, have just lost a friend," he said in a statement.