France’s head of Notre-Dame renovation dies in accident while hiking

PARIS (Reuters) – The man heading the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris following a devastating fire three years ago has died in an accident while hiking in the Pyrenees.

General Jean-Louis Georgelin’s death was reported by French media and confirmed by President Emmanuel Macron.

“The nation loses one of its great soldiers. France, one of its great servants. And Notre-Dame, the architect of its revival,” Macron said on social media X, formally known as Twitter.

A celebrated landmark, the cathedral has been closed for restoration since a fire in April 2019 gutted its roof and sent its spire crashing down, stunning people in Paris and around the world.

Georgelin, a 74-year-old army general, was appointed to lead the renovation following the fire. Authorities hope to reopen the cathedral by 2024, when the French capital hosts the Olympic Games.

Notre-Dame will be restored to its previous design, including the 96-metre (315-feet) spire designed by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc in the mid-1800s.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Frances Kerry)