France’s former president Giscard d’Estaing, 94, hospitalised

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Giscard is France's oldest surviving leader
Giscard is France’s oldest surviving leader JACQUES DEMARTHON AFP/File

France’s former president Valery Giscard d’Estaing, its oldest surviving leader at 94, was hospitalised Monday in Paris, reportedly suffering from breathing difficulties, a source close to him said.

The Le Parisien daily said that Giscard d’Estaing had been placed in intensive care with respiratory trouble.

A source close to him told AFP he had been hospitalised at the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris but could not give further details.

His wife Anne-Aymone de Brantes, whom he married in 1952, accompanied him to the hospital from their home in the central Loir-et-Cher region.

Giscard d’Estaing’s son Louis made no comment about his father’s state of health when contacted by AFP.

“He’s a certain age, at times he’s more or less in good health. For all the rest, it’s an interpretation,” Louis Giscard d’Estaing said.

Giscard d’Estaing served as president from 1974 until 1981, when he lost the election to Francois Mitterrand.

Mitterrand died in 1996 and his successor Jacques Chirac died in 2019, leaving Giscard d’Estaing as by far France’s oldest surviving leader.

During his presidency, he ushered through a spree of radical reforms, legalising abortion, liberalising divorce and reducing the voting age to 18.

In May, French prosecutors opened an investigation after claims by a German reporter that he had repeatedly touched her behind at his Paris office after an interview in 2018.

He has strongly denied the allegations, describing them as “grotesque”, and is due to talk to investigators in the coming weeks.

The former president has been hospitalised several times with heart problems and had stents inserted some years ago, a member of his entourage said.

Giscard d’Estaing last appeared in public in September 2109, at the funeral of Jacques Chirac.

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