President from 1995 to 2007, he took a stand against the U.S.-led war in Iraq. His reputation was damaged by a 2011 conviction for embezzlement.
Jacques Chirac, who molded the legacy of Charles de Gaulle into a personal power base that made him one of the dominant leaders of France across three decades and a vocal advocate of European unity, died on Thursday. He was 86.
His death was confirmed by the Fondation Chirac in Paris.
Mr. Chirac was elected to two consecutive terms as president, beginning in 1995, having already served as prime minister under centrist and Socialist presidents.
At his death, he was most remembered for his defiant stand against the United States-led war in Iraq, his ability to preside over a state in which power was divided between the left and the right — comity that is hardly imaginable today — and his championing the European Union.