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Gunter Sachs, German photographer who was married to Brigitte Bardot in '60s, commits suicide [Updated]

May 8, 2011 | 10:36 am

Gunter Sachs, a German-born photographer known for his playboy lifestyle and brief marriage to Brigitte Bardot, committed suicide in Switzerland. He was 78.

[Updated at 11:03 a.m.: In a statement released Sunday by his family at his request, Sachs said he chose to end his life after concluding that he was suffering from an incurable degenerative disease affecting his memory and ability to communicate.

"I have always stood up to big challenges," the statement said. It provided no details on the timing or circumstances of his death, but German weekly Focus reported that Sachs shot himself Saturday at his home in the exclusive Swiss Alpine resort of Gstaad.]

Sachs was born in 1932 into the wealthy industrialist family behind the Opel auto line. He used his inheritance to fund a glamorous lifestyle that fascinated many in postwar Germany. He also made a name for himself as a photographer and documentary filmmaker.

German tabloids reported extensively on his affairs with film stars and friendships with artists such as Andy Warhol. He was married to Bardot from 1966 to 1969.

Sachs is survived by his third wife, Mirja Larsson, and their sons, Christian and Alexander, and son Rolf from his first marriage.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Brigitte Bardot and Gunter Sachs in Tahiti in 1966. Credit: AFP / Getty Images