Coluche, one of France's best-known comedians, died today in a motorcycle accident at Opio, near Grasse in southern France, his agent said. He was 41.
The comedian, whose real name was Michel Colucci, was also an actor and a humanitarian who launched a series of "restaurants of the heart" to help feed poor people in the winter, and a presidential candidate in 1981.
President Francois Mitterrand, informed of the death after ceremonies honoring American composer Leonard Bernstein, said: "It is heart-wrenching. I knew him well. He was a lover of life, and he has just lost it."