Former French President Francois Mitterrand was given a fatal intravenous injection to end his life at his own request, according to a new book.
Mitterrand died in his 80s in 1996 after suffering from cancer for fifteen years, but his illness remained a closely guarded secret while he was alive.
A book written by two French journalists, Denis Demonpion and Laurent Leger, has now revealed that the president's personal doctor Claude Gubler said Mitterrand suffered from cancer during the whole of his presidency and that in his last year in power he was "incapable of carrying out his duties".
The book named The Great Secret revealed that the fatal injection that ended Mitterrand's life was administered in the presence of a mystery woman who afterwards informed the President's doctor, The Daily Mail reported.
According to the paper, Mitterrand's son Gilbert is quoted in the book as saying that "only one person knows what happened and she will say nothing about it".
"She just told us that his death had occurred peacefully," Gilbert said.
According to the book, Gubler also maintained that he had been forced to falsify the President's health bulletins giving him a clean bill.
Francois Mitterrand's widow Danielle died last November at Verdun, aged 87.
Demonpion and Leger also claimed that President Nicolas Sarkozy also "takes pills which have not been given authorisation by public health authorities".
The authors did not specify the exact nature of the pills but claimed they are intended to restore "aplomb" or self-possession, the paper said.
Other claims are that Jacques Chirac suffered a stroke whilst in power in 2005.