French former socialist premier Pierre Mauroy dies at 84
AFP, Friday 7 Jun 2013
Mauroy served as PM under the presidency of Francois Mitterrand from 1981 until 1984

Former French Socialist prime minister Pierre Mauroy has died at the age of 84, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday.

Mauroy, who was premier between 1981 and 1984 under France's first Socialist president Francois Mitterrand, had undergone surgery in April last year for a cancerous tumour in his lung.

President Francois Hollande, who is on an official visit to Japan, said Mauroy was "a man who had served France during exceptional times."

The first Socialist premier in France's Fifth Republic, Mauroy "took courageous measures... he served his country without ever undermining its fundamental values," Hollande said.

Mauroy was mayor of the northern city of Lille for 28 years -- from 1973 to 2001.