Ex-French president Jacques Chirac’s eldest daughter dies aged 58

Former French  president  Jacques Chirac (R) talking with his daughter Laurence (L) on April 26, 1981.
Former French president Jacques Chirac (R) talking with his daughter Laurence (L) on April 26, 1981.

The eldest daughter of former French president Jacques Chirac has died aged 58, her family said on Thursday.

Laurence Chirac, whose long battle with anorexia was described by her father as “the drama of her life”, had been in hospital since Sunday, according to her family. They declined to provide more details.

She was taken to hospital following a heart attack, according to the weekly news magazine Le Point.

Born on March 4, 1958, Laurence Chirac had suffered with the eating disorder anorexia since 1974 and had attempted suicide on several occasions.

The former president’s wife, Bernadette Chirac, described Laurence Chirac’s “suffering” and the “loneliness suffered by families” affected by the disorder during a television appearance in 2004.

Bernadette Chirac was involved in the founding of the “Maison de Solenn” in Paris, a centre designed to help tackle challenges faced by adolescents.

Laurence Chirac rarely appeared in the many photographs published of the Chirac family while her father was president.

Jacques Chirac admitted in his memoirs in 2009 that Laurence’s fragile health was the reason he was forced to overlook her when he gave her younger sister Claude a prominent role in his communications team.

The former president himself, now 83, has suffered from ill health in recent years.

He suffered a small stroke while in office in 2005, and he is now rarely seen in public and is reportedly confined to a wheelchair.

He reportedly began to suffer from a degenerative neurological disorder during his final years in office, leading prosecutors to spare him the humiliation of appearing in court in a corruption trial in 2011.