Maurice Sinet, a former cartoonist for French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo who often created controversy with his blunt views, has died. He was 87.

His lawyer and longtime friend Dominique Tricaud said Sinet, better known by the nickname "Sine," died Thursday after undergoing surgery in a Paris hospital. He had been fighting cancer for several years.

Sinet was known for his anarchist and anti-clerical positions. He was fired by Charlie Hebdo in 2008 for a column targeting a son of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy that triggered accusations of anti-Semitism.

He challenged his dismissal and was granted damages for wrongful termination of contract.

Tricaud said Sinet "was probably the freest soul I ever met."

Sinet expressed his deepest sympathy to Charlie Hebdo following last year's deadly attack on the magazine's Paris offices.