The former French president Jacques Chirac, who is considered to have one of the longest political careers in Europe, breathed his last on Thursday, September 26. He was 86.
For several years he had suffered from memory loss said to be linked to a form of Alzheimer’s disease or to the minor stroke that he had while in office. His son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux told the Associated Press that Chirac died “peacefully, among his loved ones.” He did not give a cause of death.
Chirac became president of France in 1995 at his third attempt. He was the fifth occupant of the post under the Fifth Republic. Previously he had been mayor of Paris for 18 years and twice Prime Minister.
At his death, he was most remembered for his defiant stand against the United States-led war in Iraq, his ability to preside over a state in which power was divided between the left and the right — comity that is hardly imaginable today — and his championing the European Union.