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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Belgian comic Raymond Devos dies
Raymond Devos
Raymond Devos enjoyed a career spanning 50 years
Comedian Raymond Devos, well known in the French-speaking world for his wordplay and physical comedy, has died.

Devos, who was 83, died at his home in Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse near Paris, family lawyer Jean-Francois Le Forsonney said.

Nicknamed "the buffoon", Devos had been awarded France's Legion of Honour.

French President Jacques Chirac said Devos was "a magician of the French language, a great poet of humour". The cause of death was not given.

But he had spent several months in a Paris hospital after suffering a stroke and only returned home two weeks ago.

Mr Chirac said Devos "knew how to make us laugh out loud and move us to tears with his surprising mix of humour and seriousness, of absurdity and depth that was the hallmark of his singular talent".

Devos was born in Mouscron, Belgium, in 1922, and was raised in northern France.

His other accolades included the Academie Francaise's Grand Prix du Theatre.

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