A former French minister today (SUN) became the most senior politician in Europe to die of coronavirus.
Patrick Devedjian, the 75-year-old President of the Hauts-de-Seine departmental council, succumbed to the virus early on Sunday morning, three days after tweeting that he was ‘tired but stable’.
Mr Devedjian, a married father of four, was in the private Antony hospital, south of Paris, after being treated there since Wednesday. He was not known to have any underlying medical condition.
‘His condition deteriorated on Saturday,’ said a family source. ‘Doctors decided to place him in an artificial coma, but he didn’t survive.’
Mr Devedjian was still sending messages on Thursday, when he wrote: ‘I am affected by the epidemic, therefore to bear witness directly to the exceptional work of the doctors and all the nursing staff.
‘Tired but stable thanks to them, I go up the slope and send them a very big thank you for their constant help to all the patients.’
Mr Devedjian, a conservative Republican who held a number of ministerial positions under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, was one of a number of politicians across Europe who have contracted Covid-19.
They include a number in Britain, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The Hauts de Seine council – one of the largest in France and based in the Paris suburb of Nanterre – confirmed Mr Devedjian’s death on Sunday, with a spokesman saying it had ‘come as a huge shock’.
‘He was the best of us,’ said Philippe Juvin, head of the Republicans in the Hauts de Seine.
‘He was one of those people who are believed to be invincible and eternal,’ said Mr Juvin, as he paid tribute to ‘this free, intelligent and very funny man – one who was an intellectual non-conformist.’
Mr Devedjian came from a family who had escaped the Armenian genocide – the mass murder and expulsion of 1.5million ethnic Armenians carried out by the Ottoman government in Turkey between 1914 and 1924.
He was born in Fontainebleau, also south of Paris, on August 26 1944 – just as Nazis occupiers were being defeated during the Second World War.
Among his most high profile ministerial jobs was as chief of the Recovery Plan following the 2008 global financial crash.
On Saturday night, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said there had been a total 2314 deaths from Coronavirus so far in France – a jump of 319 in 24 hours.