Champagne heir Jean Taittinger dies

AP News
Posted: Sep 26, 2012 1:27 PM
Champagne heir Jean Taittinger dies

PARIS (AP) — Jean Taittinger, a longtime French legislator and heir to the Taittinger Champagne legacy, has died. He was 89.

Taittinger died Sunday and was buried in a private family ceremony, son Frantz Taittinger told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Jean Marie Pierre Hubert Taittinger, born Jan. 25, 1923, fought the Nazis toward the end of World War II and went on to a long political career. He was a member of parliament from 1958 to 1973 and mayor of Reims, the Champagne center for 18 years until the late 1970s.

Traditionally, French lawmakers hold local office concurrently with their national post.

He also served as France's justice minister under President Georges Pompidou. Among his initiatives was studying the legalization of abortion, which opened the way for a law in 1975 under the next president, Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

He was also honorary president of the Taittinger Champagne house, whose origins date back to the 1700s.

A statement from the office of President Francois Hollande praised Taittinger for his loyalty to the state and his acumen in the business world. With his death, "our nation loses a great servant of the state and a great entrepreneur," the statement said.