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Former French president Jacques Chirac dies, aged 86

Former French president Jacques Chirac dies, aged 86
FILE PHOTO: Former French President Jacques Chirac arrives to attend the award ceremony for the Prix de la Fondation Chirac at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris November 21, 2014. REUTERS/Patrick Kovarik/Pool/File Photo -
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PARIS (Reuters) – Former French president Jacques Chirac, who led France from 1995 to 2007, died on Thursday morning at the age of 86, his son-in-law told Reuters.

“He passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his loved ones,” his son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux said. The head of the lower house of the French parliament interrupted a sitting of the chamber to hold a minute’s silence.

Chirac, France’s second-longest serving president dominated French politics for decades.

Following in the footsteps of previous French leader Charles de Gaulle, Chirac tried to elevate France’s status as a player on the world stage. He stirred national pride with his opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

After leaving public office, he suffered from neurological problems, and was rarely seen in public at the end of his life.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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