French billionaire Dassault dies in copter crash

French billionaire Olivier Dassault died Sunday (March 7) in a helicopter crash.

He was among the world's 500 richest people, with a fortune valued at 7.15 billion dollars.

The 69-year-old was the eldest son of late industrialist Serge Dassault.

Namesake firm Dassault Aviation builds Rafale fighters and Falcon business jets.

The family also owns France's Le Figaro newspaper.

Dassault was once seen as favourite to succeed his father as head of the family's holding.

But the role went to a former boss of the aerospace firm instead.

Since 2002 Dassault had been a lawmaker for the conservative Les Republicains party.

Paying tribute on Twitter, French president Emmanuel Macron said he was someone who 'never ceased to serve our country'.

Police say the private helicopter crashed Sunday afternoon in Normandy, where Dassault had a holiday home.

The pilot was also killed.