Ex-French Leaders Valery Giscard d’Estaing Dies From COVID
Former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing has died. He was 94.
Euronews reported on Thursday that Giscard d’Estaing succumbed to complications caused by the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) at his home in the Loir-et-Cher region in central France.
“In accordance with his wishes, his funeral will take place in strict privacy,” an official from his office was quoted as saying in the report.
Giscard d’Estaing was hospitalized last month with heart problems but remained vigorous deep into old age.
Giscard d’Estaing served as France’s leader between 1974 to 1981. He was France’s youngest president, having been only 48 when he came into power.
During his seven years as French leader, he liberalized laws on abortion, contraception, and divorce, and reduced the age of majority to 18 from 21.
The late leader also wrote an article in the European Union charter that allowed Brexit to happen.
On the eve of Britain’s official departure earlier this year, Giscard d’Estaing was quoted as saying in an interview with the Associated Press that Brexit was geopolitically “a step backward” but rather took the long view.
“We functioned without Britain during the first years of the [EU] so we will rediscover a situation that we have already known,” he said.
He was born in 1926 to a civil servant father for the French occupying forces and a mother who descended from King Louis XV of France via one of his mistresses.
Prior to his stint as president, Giscard d’Estaing joined a French resistance group in occupied Paris before enlisting in a tank battalion in 1944 where he earned the Croix de Guerre during the latter part of the war.
Then, he briefly worked as a teacher in Montreal before graduating from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration and joining the tax and revenue service.
He was named as finance minister by President Charles de Gaulle at the age of 36.
In 1952, he married Anne-Aymonelt de Brantes, the daughter of a count and heiress to a steel fortune. They had four children: Valerie-Anne, Louis, Henri, and Jacinte.