PARIS — André Bettencourt, a former politician, L'Oréal executive and husband of the French beauty giant's heiress, Liliane Bettencourt, died Monday. He was 89.

Bettencourt's cause of death could not be learned.

During his career, Bettencourt held numerous French governmental positions, including minister of posts and telecommunications and minister of industry. Bettencourt, who married the daughter of L'Oréal's founder, Eugène Schueller, also represented the company's founding family and L'Oréal majority shareholders as vice chairman of its board. When he voluntarily stepped down from the job in 1994, Bettencourt was succeeded by his son-in-law, Jean-Pierre Meyers.

Bettencourt also served as president of Gesparal, L'Oréal's holding company. He left that position in 1995 amid reports that he had been a Nazi sympathizer who'd written anti-Semitic articles during a 21-month stint, starting in 1940, as an editorial writer for the collaborationist French weekly La Terre Française. The paper was reportedly controlled, in part, by the Gestapo.

Bettencourt then joined the Resistance.

"My actions during the Resistance, as well as my entire political past, are the demonstration that I was aware of the error that I had committed in writing the articles in La Terre Française, that I have never ceased to publicly regret and for which I will always ask the Jewish community to forgive me," Bettencourt said in a statement in February 1995.

Bettencourt and his wife created the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller, which backs the arts and culture. He was elected to the French Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1988.

Bettencourt is survived by his wife, and daughter, Françoise Meyers.

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