France's Chirac still in hospital, family says after death rumours

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Paris (AFP)

Former French president Jacques Chirac is still in hospital in Paris, his family said Wednesday following rumours that the 83-year-old had died.

"President Chirac is being treated for a lung infection and I want to pay homage to the exceptional quality of the medical teams," Chirac's son-in-law Frederick Salat-Baroux told AFP.

Chirac was hospitalised Sunday. Rumours he had died were sparked early Wednesday when former housing minister Christine Boutin tweeted "Mort de #Chirac" (death of #Chirac).

Salat-Baroux, husband of Chirac's daughter Claude, asked for the family's "tranquility" to be respected during Chirac's hospitalisation.

Chirac, who led France from 1995 to 2007, had just returned from a visit to Morocco with his wife Bernadette when he was admitted to Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris.

The centre-right Chirac, who served two terms as head of state, is probably best remembered internationally for his opposition to the US military intervention in Iraq in 2003.

A small stroke while in office in 2005 weakened him, and he is now rarely seen in public.

In December 2015, he spent two weeks in hospital, suffering from what his family described as fatigue.

In recent weeks, his entourage said his health had improved.

Boutin, known for fanning controversy, is appealing a 2015 conviction for calling homosexuality an "abomination".