France’s former president, Jacques Chirac, a centre-right politician who ruled the country between 1995 and 2007, passed away on Thursday at the age of 86.
The veteran politician “died this morning surrounded by his family, peacefully,” his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux told the AFP news agency. He did not specify the cause of death.
Born a Parisian, Chirac served as mayor of Paris and had two stints as prime minister before taking the highest office in 1995. He earned the nickname “Le Bulldozer” early in his career due to his drive and ambition.
France’s National Assembly stood for a minute of silence after hearing the news, which was shared by the parliamentary president, Richard Ferrand.
Separately, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was “moved and devastated” to learn of Chirac’s death.