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Former French Prez Giscard d’Estaing dies at 94

Paris: Former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing, a preeminent architect of the European Union, died Wednesday night at the age of 94 due to COVID-19, his foundation said.

Giscard, often referred to simply as VGE, died in his family home in Loir-et-Cher, France, after his health had deteriorated, the Fondation Valéry Giscard d’Estaing said in a tweet.

The former president had been admitted to hospital in September with respiratory complications, and was hospitalised again in mid-November. He died at his family home after suffering from complications linked to the virus.

He had made one of his last public appearances on Sept. 30, 2019 during the funeral in Paris of another former president, Jacques Chirac.

Giscard, who was France’s leader from 1974 to 1981, was known for steering a modernisation of French society during his presidency, including allowing divorce by mutual consent and legalising abortion, and was one of the architects of European integration.

Elected president at 48, he came to power after Charles de Gaulle’s long rule.

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