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Controversial French tycoon and former minister Bernard Tapie dies at 78

French business magnate and former politician Bernard Tapie, whose larger-than-life career was marked by a series of legal problems, has died age 78 after a four-year battle with cancer, his family told the Provence newspaper in Marseille.

"Dominique Tapie and his family have the immense sadness to announce the death of her husband and their father, Bernard Tapie, this Sunday," they said in a statement.

One of his sons, Stéphane Tapie, confirmed his death with a post of "Goodbye my Phoenix" on Instagram.

© Emmanuel Dunand, AFP

One of his sons, Stephane Tapie, confirmed his death with a post of "Goodbye my Phoenix" on Instagram.

Moments earlier, Prime Minister Jean Castex paid tribute to Tapie, who had been a government minister in the 1990s, describing him as a "fighter".

Tapie, whose business interests included a stake in sportswear company Adidas, had been suffering from stomach cancer for several years.

He was also a former Olympique de Marseille (OM) president, leading the football club to the Champions League title in 1993. "Olympique de Marseille learned with deep sadness of the passing of Bernard Tapie. He will leave a great void in the hearts of the Marseillais and will forever remain in the legend of the club," OM said in a statement.

A charismatic president of Marseille from 1986 to 1994, he was at the helm when OM beat AC Milan 1-0 in the final of the Champions League. He was later sent to prison for corruption in a match-fixing scandal in the French first division. 

Reference: FRANCE 24

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