Former French president Jacques Chirac has died at the age of 86.
The former leader was a centre-right politician who served as head of state from 1995 to 2007.
His son in law, Frederic Salat-Baroux, said: ‘President Jacques Chirac died this morning surrounded by his family, peacefully.’
This morning, the French National Assembly observed a minute’s silence in his memory. Chirac served two terms as French president and, as a champion of the EU, took his country into the single European currency.
His political reforms included reducing the presidential term of office from seven to five years and ending compulsory military service.
In 1980, as Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac jumps a turnstile in the Metro during the inauguration of a modern art exhibition at the Auber train station.
During the early years of his career, Chirac was nicknamed ‘Le Bulldozer’ for his determination and ambition.
Before he became President, he served two stints as prime minister in 1974-76 and 1986-88 and was mayor of his native Paris from 1977-1995.
He was the first leader to acknowledge France’s role in the Holocaust and famously opposed the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq.
As well as angering the United States, it also worsened an already difficult relationship with then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Chirac’s later years were marred with political scandal focusing on his time at the helm of the French capital.
Once he had lost his presidential immunity, a court in Paris declared him guilty of diverting public funds and abusing public confidence and gave him a two-year suspended prison sentence.
Chirac was excused from attending the 2011 trial due to his failing memory.
The former leader had rarely been seen in public in recent years and was long known to have been suffering from ill health.
He suffered a stroke in 2005 and in 2014 his wife Bernadette said he would no longer speak in public.