French businessman Pierre Bergé, who
established the Yves Saint Laurent label with his partner Yves Saint
Laurent, died on Friday at his home in the south of France at the age
According to the
BBC, Bergé died after suffering a long illness.
An advocate for LGBT rights, Bergé in
1994 founded Sidaction, which raises funds for AIDS research and
treatment. He was also a patron of the arts.
Bergé met Yves Saint Laurent in 1958.
They were romantically involved until an amicable split in 1976.
They continued as friends and business partners.
According to The
New York Times, the men entered a civil union a few days
before Saint Laurent died of brain cancer in 2008.
“It's going to be necessary to part
now,” Bergé said at Saint Laurent's funeral in Paris. “I don't
know how to do it because I never would have left you. Have we ever
left each other before?”
Two museums dedicated to Yves Saint
Laurent are scheduled to open later this year in Paris. Bergé had
been due to inaugurate both.
“Yves and I loved one another,”
Bergé told the Witness program last year. “It is important
to say that. And we set out to create an important new couture house
and we had a magnificent success with it.”