Jacques Chirac, the former French president 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 the French news agency AFP.
Mr Chirac served two terms as French president and took his country 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 premier, 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,” Mr Junker said in a statement.