'We'll never forget her songs, her laughter or her incomparable accent': Tributes paid to singer and actress Jane Birkin

16 July 2023, 12:45 | Updated: 16 July 2023, 14:21

Singer and actress Jane Birkin has died
Singer and actress Jane Birkin has died. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Singer and actress Jane Birkin has died at the age of 76.

The star was found dead at her home in Paris, French media reported, citing people close to her.

The French culture ministry confirmed that she had died in a statement saying: "On July 16, 2023, actress and singer Jane Birkin died at the age of 76.

"Her collaborations with the greatest (Serge Gainsbourg, Etienne Daho and Agnès Varda) have made her a timeless French-speaking icon."

Birkin when she was younger
Birkin when she was younger. Picture: Alamy

Birkin had recently cancelled concerts for health reasons, writing in May: "I have always been a great optimist, and I realise that I still need a little time to be able on stage and with you again."

It followed a previous string of cancelled shows after the singer suffered from a stroke in September 2021.

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Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. Picture: Alamy

Birkin was born in London but found fame singing in French and later relocated there.

She began her career as an actress but was best known overseas for her 1969 hit in which she and lover, the late French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, sang the sexually explicit “Je t’aime...moi non plus”.

Birkin in December 2022
Birkin in December 2022. Picture: Alamy

The pair met while filming the 1969 French romcom, Slogan, and went on to release an album together in the same year.

After the pair split in 1980, Birkin continued to appear in several films and recorded more solo albums.

She also leant her name to the iconic Hermès Birkin designer handbag after the fashion house's chief executive, Jean-Louis Dumas, spoke to her during a flight from Paris to London in 1984.

Birkin had been frustrated at not being able to find a bag big enough for her daughter's bottles while also remaining stylish for young mums.

Birkin bags have a host of celebrity admirers, with famous owners of the accessory including former US first lady Melania Trump, rapper Cardi B, pop star-turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham and reality star Kim Kardashian.

Tributes have since been paid to the star, with Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, tweeting: "Jane Birkin, the most Parisian of the English has left us.

"We will never forget her songs, her laughter or her incomparable accent that have always accompanied us."

Musician Kim Gordon said: "RIP Jane Birkin. So sad to hear this! She was always a quiet and powerful inspiration! Lucky to have met her once."