Award-winning French writer MAURICE DRUON has died, aged 90.
Druon, who co-wrote one of France's most patriotic anthems during World War II, died on Tuesday (14Apr09) in Paris after suffering cardiovascular problems.
He co-wrote Chante des Partisans with Joseph Kessel in 1943, which briefly became the country's unofficial anthem, next to Le Marseillaise.
In 1948, Druon received France's most acclaimed literary award, the Prix Goncourt (The Goncourt Prize) - given to the author of "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year" - for his novel Les grandes familles.
His writing earned him the 30th seat of the Academie francaise (French Academy) in 1966, where he was elected to oversee the French language and usage for the state - a post he held for nearly four decades.
He also served as Minister of Cultural Affairs in 1973 and 1974 in Pierre Messmer's cabinet, and as a deputy of Paris from 1978 to 1981.
Paying tribute to Druon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called him a great writer, a great Resistance fighter, a great politician and a great soul".