NICE, France — French writer Dominique Lapierre, celebrated for his novels about the World War II struggle to liberate Paris and his portrayal of hard life in a Calcutta slum, has died. He was 91 years old.

Lapierre died on Friday, a local newspaper in southern France reported Monday, citing an interview with the author’s wife, Dominique Conchon-Lapierre.

The widow told the Var Matin newspaper that Lapierre died due to his advanced age and that she was calm because her husband “is no longer suffering.”

French Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak praised Lapierre as an author and journalist whose world travels, from Mexico to India, New York and Jerusalem, made him a “witness to the 20th century” and enriched his novels with facts.

“We have lost a great writer, who was generous in his texts and generous in his life,” Abdul Malak said in a statement.

In 1964, Lapierre used archived material to write with the American Larry Collins a novel about the liberation of the French capital in August 1944. The novel, entitled “Is Paris Burning?”, was adapted for the big screen by filmmaker Rene Clement . Gore Vidal and Francis Ford Coppola were some of the screenwriters who participated in the project.

Lapierre was born in 1931 in the town of Chatelaillon, in western France, his father was a diplomat, his mother had worked as a journalist. In the 1950s, Lapierre worked as a journalist and foreign correspondent for Paris-Match magazine. She lived most of her life on the French Riviera in the town of Ramatuelle with Conchon-Lapierre, who was his wife of 56 years.

Lapierre had a special connection to India and spent much time in Calcutta, a city nicknamed “The City of Joy” after his 1985 novel. The book chronicles the life of a rickshaw puller in a slum of Calcutta. , was adapted to the cinema by Roland Joffé in 1992.

Lapierre made generous donations to various non-profit organizations doing humanitarian work in Calcutta.

Two other books of his, “Freedom Tonight” (also co-written with Collins) and “It was midnight in Bhopal”, were also set in India. Lapierre received the Padma Bhushan award, the third highest honor for a civilian in India, in 2008.

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