Winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1985 and a household name in France for over 60 years, Claude Simon, the novelist, has passed away at the age of 91.

Simon was considered one of the greatest of French writers, comparable to Marcel Proust, some said. He was certainly one of the stars of French contemporary writing and his passing is being marked by the French media with full honours.

Born in 1913 in Tananarive in Madagascar, he was orphaned when he was still young. He was then brought up by his grandparents who sent him to school in Paris, at the Collge Stanislas.

He is best known for his works Histoire, La Route des Flandres and Le Tricheur.

Even the French prime minister Dominique de Villepin said that he was deeply affected by the news of the writers death.