France: Former Interior Minister Gérard Collomb is dead

Former mayor of Lyon, former president of Greater Lyon, former senator, Prime Minister of the Interior under Emmanuel Macron between 2017 and 2018, Gérard Collomb passed away on Saturday, November 25 at around 21 p.m. at the age of 76.

Gérard Collomb, then Minister of the Interior, at the Élysée Palace in Paris in August 2018. AP - Michel Euler

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Gérard Collomb had announced that he had stomach cancer on September 16, 2022, recalls the Lyon Mag website. He died on Saturday, November 25, 2023 at around 21 p.m., his wife Caroline Collomb confirmed. "When it became clear that his disease could not be improved by any anti-cancer treatment, he wished to benefit from deep sedation which allowed him to pass away peacefully with his family," she told AFP in a brief message. Mr. Collomb was the father of five children.

Coming from a modest background in Chalon-sur-Saône, in Burgundy, he was an associate professor of classics and had taken time to establish himself politically among the Socialists in Lyon, in the shadow of strong local figures within the PS, in a city long dominated by the right and center. Elected mayor of the 9th arrondissement in 1995, while Raymond Barre took over the city in the wake of Michel Noir, he finally won in 2001, to everyone's surprise, at the same time as Bertrand Delanoë in Paris. The beginning of a long reign.

Having had to spend Christmas in hospital, I was able to measure how deep the crisis in our hospitals was. I then made a commitment to the caregivers, who were remarkably dedicated to testifying to their difficulties. What better day to do it than today!

— Gérard Collomb (@gerardcollomb) January 6, 2023

In the years that followed, Gérard Collomb became, like Georges Frêche in Montpellier, Alain Juppé in Bordeaux, and closer to him, Charles Hernu in Villeurbanne or Jean-Jack Queyranne in Bron, the embodiment of the city he administered. And this in the long term. A builder in a hurry, he transformed the place. His mandates are those of the emergence on the European and international level of the former capital of the Gauls, with a football club, Olympique Lyonnais, at its peak, and a culture that is being exported.

Everywhere between the Rhône and Saône, whether it is his district, which he turned into a business hub, or the Confluence, Part-Dieu or Croix-Rousse districts, whose metamorphosis he supported, this special member of the Socialist Party defied all predictions, leaving an indelible mark. Like many other metropolises at the same time, it also accompanied the redesign of transport. Under his leadership, the former 8th of December, which became the Festival of Lights in 1989, was transformed into an international event.

Shunned on rue de Solférino in Paris, a city he frequented for years as a senator, Mr. Collomb finally joined Emmanuel Macron during the 2017 campaign, and left the mayoralty of Lyon to become his interior minister, a position he left early the following year after the Alexandre Benalla affair. On Saturday evening, the President of the Republic hailed on the social network X "a dear friend", a "statesman who embodied the rise and authority of the Republic", "the worthy successor of Edouard Herriot". (see also here


Gérard Collomb is dead. He was the worthy successor of Édouard Herriot. The people of Lyon are orphans and I share their sorrow. pic.twitter.com/QtI6fv5Isp

— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 25, 2023

In fact, the Lyonnais helped him a lot to reach the Élysée, before fading away, replaced by Christophe Castaner at Place Beauvau. Subsequently, Gérard Collomb will try to take back the third city of France and its metropolis in 2020, but he will fail and will disappear definitively from public life. His health had deteriorated in recent days and he had been taken care of by the oncology department of the Lyon Sud hospital, AFP reported. He died "during a short period of coma," his wife Caroline said.

This Saturday evening, the current president of the Metropolis, Bruno Bernard, paid tribute to a "hard-working, sometimes short-tempered, deeply endearing and above all a Lyonnais". "We have lost count of the transformations he has made for our territory. From the Velo'V, to the redevelopment of the banks of the Rhône," he adds. The current mayor, Grégory Doucet, pays tribute to the memory of a "transformative and humanist" who "created and was the first to preside over the Métropole de Lyon, a formidable community at the service of our residents and our businesses".

It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of Gérard Collomb this evening. A transformative and humanist mayor, he left his mark on the history of Lyon.

My deepest thoughts go out to his family. pic.twitter.com/073bQVHdkL

— Grégory Doucet (@Gregorydoucet) November 25, 2023

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