Marianne Faithfull, Johnny Marr lead tributes to the late Jane Birkin

"A sweet and kind person with heart for art"

British actress, singer and French icon Jane Birkin has died at the age of 76 – with stars from across the entertainment world paying tribute.

According to BFMTV, Birkin was found at her home in Paris, France by her caregiver. No cause of death has yet been revealed.

The English-French star enjoyed a long and fruitful career in both film and music and maintained an on-and-off-screen relationship with Serge Gainsbourg for decades.

After meeting while appearing together in 1969 French film Slogan, they released a collaborative debut album the same year. The pair split in 1980, with Birkin continuing to release solo albums and appear in a number of films.

Birkin was also the inspiration behind the famous Hermès handbag which was named after her. The Hermès Birkin is one of the most expensive bags in the market with the likes of Drake, Kris Kardashian, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss and other celebrities owning or collecting them.

Birkin released her most recent studio album, ‘Oh! Pardon tu dormais…’ 2020. In 2017 she released ‘Birkin/Gainsbourg: Le Symphonique’, a collection of songs Gainsbourg had written for Birkin during and after their 12-year-long romantic relationship, reworked with orchestral arrangements.

Serge Gainsbourg with Jane Birkin. Credit: Getty Images.

In 2021, Birkin was the subject of Jane by Charlotte, a documentary directed by Charlotte Gainsbourg, Birkin’s daughter with Serge.

She was set to appear as part of the American Film Festival in Deauville, France to discuss the film but cancelled the appearance after suffering a minor stroke.

After the news of Birkin’s death, both celebrities fans have been paying tribute to her on social media.

Marianne Faithfull shared a heartfelt tribute to the singer on Instagram with the caption: “I admired her as an artist so much and I’m very glad we got to work together. I hope people remember that she made some of her best albums in recent years. She was so proud of continuing Serge’s musical legacy on all those wonderful records and now that’s part of her legacy too; how fitting.”

English singer Beth Gibbons shared a photo of her and Birkin rehearsing for a performance together on Twitter with the caption: “I’m so sad to hear that Jane Birkin has gone. She was such a beautiful, generous and kind soul. She was one of the nicest people I’ve worked with and always made me feel so at ease.”

Placebo‘s Brian Molko took to Instagram to share a photo of the French muse sharing: “I got a message for Jane. Soul beauty personified. I can’t begin to explain what a privilege it’s been to have you in my life. I loved you from the day we met and will continue to do so until it’s my time. Your grace and dignity were inspirations, your generosity a priceless gift. Sleep peacefully beautiful one.”

Johnny Marr, who featured on her 2006 album, ‘Fictions’, said Birkin is “a sweet and kind person with heart for art”. The Charlatans‘ frontman Tim Burgess called her an “icon of coolness and so much more” in a Twitter post while Iggy Pop described Birkin as a “unique lady”.

Other tributes come from French president Emmanuel Macron who said: “Because she embodied freedom, because she sang the most beautiful words of our language, Jane Birkin was a French icon. A complete artist, her voice was as sweet as her engagements were fiery. She bequeaths us tunes and images that will never leave us.”

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, paid tribute to Birkin, calling her “the most Parisian of Englishwomen”. “We will never forget her songs, her laughter or her incomparable accent which have always accompanied us.”

Birkin is survived by her daughters Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon as well her grandchildren Marlowe Mitchell, Laszlo Manel, Alice Attal, Ben Attal and Roman de Kermadec.

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