Paris: Jane Birkin, the British-French singer, actress and style icon who was catapulted to fame by her tumultuous relationship with singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, has died, a close source said on Sunday. She was 76.
Birkin had been suffering from health problems in recent years that had forced her to cancel concerts.
The cause of death and other details were not immediately available.
Birkin catapulted to fame through her turbulent relationship with legendary singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and her heavily accented French.
With her flared jeans, mini dresses and messy bangs, Birkin was a fashion icon in the 1970s.
In 1984, Hermes named one of its handbags after her, which remains a sought-after status symbol.
"Because she embodied freedom, because she sang the most beautiful words in our language, Jane Birkin was a French icon. A complete artist," Macron said on Twitter.
The daughter of an actress and a naval officer, Birkin married James Bond composer John Barry, with whom she had a daughter, Kate. The marriage lasted three years.
She moved to France after meeting Gainsbourg on the set of a romantic comedy in which he was her co-star.
They had a daughter, Charlotte, who became a hugely successful actress and singer.
The musical and romantic relationship between Gainsbourg and Birkin was famously tempestuous.
During one of their raging rows, Birkin tossed herself into the River Seine after throwing a custard pie in Gainsbourg's face.
She blazed her own trail after walking out on France's favourite bad boy in 1980.
In her around 70 films she has worked with leading French directors including Bertrand Tavernier, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, James Ivory and Agnes Varda.
But she remained forever associated with Gainsbourg, who continued to write songs for her after their split, including "Les dessous chics" about lingerie being used to try to cover up a relationship on the rocks.
"It's the most beautiful song about separation you could ever have," Birkin told AFP in a 2018 interview.
Her oldest daughter, Kate Barry, a photographer, died in an apparent suicide in 2013.
Birkin is survived by her daughter with Gainsbourg, Charlotte, and her daughter Lou Doillon, a singer, whom she had during a 13-year relationship with French director Jacques Doillon.
Key dates in the life of British-born actress and singer Jane Birkin, who spent most of her life in France:
- December 14, 1946: Born in London, her mother an actress.
- 1965: Aged 17, marries James Bond composer John Barry with whom she has a daughter, Kate. They divorce three years later.
- 1966: Comes to public attention in the swinging sixties classic film "Blow Up" by Michelangelo Antonioni, which wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
- 1968: After moving to Paris, she meets famous French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. They start a turbulent 13-year musical and romantic partnership.
- 1969: Her steamy duet with Gainsbourg, "Je t'aime, moi non plus", causes a scandal.
- 1984: Hermes creates the Birkin bag, which becomes a celebrity favourite.
- 1985: First of three nominations at the Cesars, France's Oscars, for "La Pirate" directed by Jacques Doillon, her partner from 1980 to 1992.
- 1987: Performs in her first concert, at the Bataclan in Paris.
- 1998: Makes her first record without Gainsbourg, "A la legere".
- 2001: Made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to acting and British-French cultural relations.
- 2007: Directs her first film for cinema, "Boxes", which is given a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
- 2013: Apparent suicide of her daughter Kate Barry. She by then has two other daughters, Charlotte with Gainsbourg, and Lou with Doillon.
- 2021: Suffers a minor stroke