Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, Iran’s first president following the country’s revolution, died Saturday in France, according to his family. He was 88 years old.
According to a statement on his website, he died in Paris’ Salpêtrière hospital “after a long battle with illness.”
Bani-Sadr was president for less than two years, from 1980 to 1981, at the end of the Iranian Revolution. He was the first person elected to lead the country after the monarchy was abolished.
He was educated in Europe and opposed the rule of the shahs, helping to overthrow Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. He was an ally of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the revolution.
Bani-Sadr’s presidency was tarnished by the hostage crisis involving U.S. diplomats as well as Iraq’s invasion of Iran.
He was impeached in 1981 after attempting to overthrow the country’s clerics. He opposed their participation in the country’s politics.
After his impeachment, Bani-Sadr fled to France where he lived until his death.
Bani-Sadr’s family issued a statement saying he “defended freedom in the face of new tyranny and oppression in the name of religion,” according to the BBC.