PARIS – Pierre Bergé, the long-term companion and business partner of Yves Saint Laurent, has died at the age of 86, his foundation announced on Friday.
He passed away in his sleep early Friday at his home in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, southern France, after a long illness, the Pierre Bergé Foundation said in a statement.
“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,” the foundation stated.
He met Saint Laurent in 1958, three years before helping to co-found the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house, which he ran until 2002.
The couple lived together for half a century.
Bergé also set up the Pierre Bergé Foundation, whose mission it was to preserve the work of the famous French designer, organize exhibitions and cultural activities.
Born Nov. 14, 1930, on the Ile d’Oleron off France’s Atlantic coast, he was a gay rights activist and in 1994, he was involved in the setting up of “Sidaction,” an association raising awareness of and collecting charitable funds for AIDS.
In 1990, he co-founded French weekly “Courrier International” and gay magazine “Têtu” in 1995. In 2010, he became the majority shareholder in the media group that publishes “Le Monde,” along with businessmen Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse.
This coming Fall, he was due to attend the opening of two museums dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent, one in Paris and the other in Marrakesh.
In March this year, he married American landscape painter Madison Cox.