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French cinema icon Jean-Paul Belmondo has died at the age of 88.
Belmondo's friend and lawyer, Michel Godest, announced on Monday that the actor had passed away at his home in Paris after a period of ill health.
"All of France is sad, I am sad," he said, before breaking down in tears during an interview.
Born in 1933, Belmondo launched his acting career in the early 1950s with two theatre performances, and made his film debut in 1958’s A Dog, a Mouse, and a Sputnik.
However, it wasn’t until he appeared in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 film À bout de soufflé (Breathless) that he achieved mainstream success and became a major figure within the French New Wave. His other notable projects included 1963’s Banana Peel, in which he appeared alongside Jeanne Moreau, and the 1964 action-adventure tale The Man from Rio.
Following the sad news, a number of high-profile names expressed their condolences to Belmondo’s friends and family, including French President Emmanuel Macron.
“He will forever remain The Magnificent,” he wrote on Twitter. “Jean-Paul Belmondo was a national treasure, full of panache and laughter, with bold words and swift movements, a sublime hero and iconic figure, tireless daredevil and word magician. In him, we all found ourselves.”
Belmondo was married twice and also had long-term relationships with stars including Ursula Andress and Laura Antonelli.