French authorities say former Socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard has died at age 85 in a Paris hospital.

French President Francois Hollande issued a statement Saturday regretting the loss of a "great figure of the Republic and the left."

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Rocard, who died Saturday, had been waging a "fight against disease." He did not elaborate.

Rocard was prime minister from 1988 to 1991 under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand. He notably created a minimum allowance for poor people who had no other income.

Rocard defended anti-colonialist views during the Algerian war in the 1950s and early 1960s. He also developed his own political style in the Socialist Party in the 1980s, pushing for more pro-business and reformist policies.