Tributes have been paid to French singer-songwriter Georges Moustaki who has died aged 79. He penned Edith Piaf's hit song "Milord" a number-one hit in Germany in 1960, among many others.
Known for simple, romantic songs which he often sang himself, Moustaki wrote for French singers including Yves Montand, Juliette Greco and Pia Colomba. He also sang his own compositions in French, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Arabic.
Juliette Greco paid tribute on Thursday: "he was an absolutely charming man, a gentleman, a fine man," she said. "This was an elegant man with infinite softness - and of course talent."
Moustaki's Paris-based production house said Thursday Moustaki died at his home in Nice overnight after a long illness. A memorial ceremony is planned Monday at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.
Paris newspaper Le Figaro called Moustaki "an extraordinary artist." French culture minister, Aurelie Filippetti said via her Twitter social media account that he was "a dedicated and committed artist who held humanist values, a great poet."
Moustaki told French radio RTL in December that he wanted to be buried in Alexandria, Egypt, where he was born in 1934: "there is a cemetery that is the cemetery of free thinkers, and it is there that I want to rest for eternity," he had said.
His parents came from Corfu in Greece and moved to Alexandria where Moustaki was born with the name of Giuseppe Mustacchi. He moved to Paris when he was 17 and changed his name to Georges in honor of the French singer Georges Brassens who he admired greatly.
jm/kms (AFP, dpa)