JACQUES Chirac, the former French President, whose career was ruined by political and personal scandal – has died aged 86.
His son-in-law Frederic Salat Baroux revealed early today he had passed away after a period of ill health, without offering any more details.
Jacques Chirac died after falling sick, his family revealed today[/caption]
Jacques Chirac died aged 86 after being admitted to a hospital in the French capital[/caption]
Baroux told AFP: “President Jacques Chirac died this morning surrounded by his family, peacefully.”
Jacques Chirac had been admitted to hospital at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris for a pulmonary infection in 2010, December 2015 and again in September 2016.
He suffered a stroke in 2005, and in 2014, his wife, Bernadette, said he would no longer be speaking in public, noting he had memory trouble.
The former statesman has rarely been seen in public since the death of one of his two daughters in 2016, and was looking increasingly frail in recent months.
He was French president from 1995 until 2007 and also served as prime minister from 1974 until 1976, and again from 1986 until 1988.
Jacques Chirac was president for a full 12 years, from 1995 until 2007[/caption]
Jacques Chirac (right) was born to well off parents in Paris[/caption]
The French National Assembly this morning observed a minute’s silence in homage to the former world leader.
Chirac is best known internationally for opposing the War in Iraq in 2003, and for standing up for the French language and culture.
However, on 15 December 2011, the Paris court declared him guilty of diverting public funds and abusing public confidence, and gave him a two-year suspended prison sentence.
Jacques Chirac is seen here with Margaret Thatcher in 1987 in Paris[/caption]
The colourful character’s career was rocked by scandal[/caption]
On Bastille Day – July 14 – 2002 he survived an assassination attempt by a lone gunman with a rifle hidden inside a guitar case.
The would-be assassin fired a shot at his motorcade, but missed, before being overpowered by bystanders.
Chirac was also well known for his extra-marital affairs, but remained a devout Roman Catholic throughout his life.
He was cheekily known as ‘Mr Three Minutes, Shower Included’ by his office staff.
As mayor of Paris in the 1980s, he even ordered the council to buy a coach fitted out with a bedroom so he could meet his lovers whilst on official engagements.
He was nicknamed ‘Le Bulldozer’ early in his career because of his determination and political ambition.
As president he was a consummate global diplomat but failed to reform the economy or defuse tensions between police and minority youths that exploded into riots across France in 2005.
Born to well-off parents in Paris, he was the last French president to have direct experience of combat and it left him both a fan of military strategy and cautious about war.
Of the war in Iraq, he famously said: “War is always a last resort. It is always proof of failure. It is always the worst of solutions, because it brings death and misery.”
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He was a figure in French political life from the early 1960s, starting as an adviser to the prime minister George Pompidou, becoming an MP in rural Corrèze and then a minister.
Before he finally became president in 1995, he founded a political party, the Gaullist Rally for the Republic, served twice as prime minister and failed twice at a presidential election.
Jacques Chirac married Bernadette Chodron de Courcel in 1956, with whom he had two daughters, Laurence and Claude.
Jacques Chirac kisses his wife Bernadette after her victory in regional polls in 2014[/caption]
Jacques Chirac hugs Nelson Mandela after their meeting in Johannesburg in 2002[/caption]
Jacques Chirac had long-standing health problems[/caption]