Jacques Chirac, former President of France, has died at the age of 86, news agency AFP reports quoting his son-in-law.
France’s National Assembly stood for a minute of silence after learning of the news, with one deputy gasping loudly when it was announced by assembly president Richard Ferrand.
The conservative Chirac was best known abroad for his staunch opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
At home, perhaps his greatest legacy was his acknowledgment, for the first time, of the French state’s role in the wartime round-up and arrest of Jewish people to Nazi death camps.
Chirac was president of France from 1995-2007.
Under his presidency, France entered into the single European currency and abolished compulsory military service.
Chirac also cut the presidential term of office from seven to five years.
He disappeared from public life in recent years. He reportedly suffered from severe ill health. (dpa/NAN)