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Famed French singer Jane Birkin dies in home at 76

Charlotte Gainsbourg (L) and Jane Birkin arrive at a photocall for the film "Jane par Charlotte" during the 74th annual Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France on July 8, 2021. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Charlotte Gainsbourg (L) and Jane Birkin arrive at a photocall for the film "Jane par Charlotte" during the 74th annual Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France on July 8, 2021. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

July 16 (UPI) -- Renowned singer and actress Jane Birkin died at her home over the weekend. She was 76.

"Because she embodied freedom, because she sang the most beautiful words of our language, Jane Birkin was a French icon," French President Emmanuel Macron said in a translated statement on Twitter.

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"A complete artist, her voice was as sweet as her engagements were fiery. She bequeaths us tunes and images that will never leave us."

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Birkin "transcended generations" while Rima Abdul Malak, France's minister of culture, called her the "most French of Britoses."

"Jane B was mischief, impertinent elegance, the never-outdated emblem of an entire era, a murmuring voice that remains our idol. A woman of heart, committed, whose disappearance leaves us Alone in Babylon," Malak said on Twitter.

The English-French artist, also known as a fashion icon and the inspiration for Hermes' Birkin Bag, was born in London but found her greatest success in France where she sang in French.

Her hit song with Gainsbourg Je t'aime ... moi non plus gained the pair international fame despite the song being banned in some countries and condemned by the Vatican in 1968 because of its overtly sexual themes.

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She also had a controversial 13-year personal and professional relationship with songwriter Serge Gainsbourg that ended in 1980 over his "increasing alcoholism and violence," according to Far Out Magazine.

They remained friends after the end of their turbulent relationship with Gainsbourg continuing to write songs for her and when Gainsbourg was once described by a former collaborator as the Harvey "Weinstein of French music," she is said to have defended him.

The couple had one daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, who has established herself as an award-winning singer and actress.

"Birkin's life, apart from Gainsbourg, was a seamless adventure -- records, films, theatre, love at first sight and hard knocks," the French publication LeMond wrote about Birkin.

She had postponed concerts in Paris scheduled for May after breaking her shoulder in March 2022.

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Lee Sun-kyun arrives at a photocall for "Parasite" during the Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 22, 2019. The South Korean actor died at the age of 48 on December 27. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

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