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Pierre Bergé, who co-founded the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house, has died at age 86.

“It is with immense sadness that the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, Paris and the Fondation Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech announce the death of their founding president Pierre Bergé, which occurred on September 8, 2017, at 5.39 am, at home in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. He died in his sleep at the age of 86 following a long illness,” read a statement.

Bergé co-founded the Yves Saint Laurent house in 1961 and although he and Yves split as a couple in the 1980s, Bergé went on to run the business until 2002. The pair were joined in a civil union a few days before the designer died of a brain tumour in 2008 aged 71.

Saint Laurent’s eponymous label started a sartorial revolution, changing womenswear forever through his pioneering designs and silhouettes, from 1966’s Le Smoking to the introduction of the Rive Gauche ready-to-wear line that same year, democratising the way women bought clothes.

Born 14th November, 1930, on the Ile d’Oleron island, Bergé became one of the most influential business figures on the French cultural scene. A keen art collector, he presided over the board of Le Monde newspaper and campaigned for gay rights, donating a large part of his fortune to Aids research.

“It is with a deep emotion that I have learned of Pierre Bergé’s passing, he welcomed me with kindness since my first day at Saint Laurent,”said Anthony Vaccarello, Artistic Director of Yves Saint Laurent. “His advice and his support have always guided me. I am infinitely sad that he will not be able to attend the opening of the two museums in Paris and Marrakech that he cared about so much. A great figure in french culture has left us.”