MARSEILLES, France — Gaston Defferre, the millionaire Socialist mayor of Marseilles for the last 30 years and a leading figure in post-war French politics, died in a hospital today after injuring himself in a fall.
Defferre, 75, was taken to the hospital Tuesday after he fell and injured his head at home, apparently after suffering a stroke. Aides blamed his stroke on an angry party meeting Monday night that rejected his candidate for party leader. He never regained consciousness.
Defferre's third wife, award-winning writer Edmonde Charles-Roux, spent last night with him at the hospital along with the faithful from the Socialist Party, which he had supported throughout his career despite his riches.
Defferre, the undisputed boss of the turbulent Mediterranean city and much of southern France, ran twice for the presidency, in 1965 and 1969, in addition to his roles as government minister, parliamentarian and newspaper owner.