The AP reports: Aimé Césaire, an anticolonialist poet and politician who was honored throughout the French-speaking world and who was an early proponent of black pride, died here on Thursday. He was 94.
A government spokeswoman, Marie Michèle Darsières, said he died at a hospital where he was being treated for heart problems and other ailments.
Mr. Césaire was one of the Caribbean's most celebrated cultural figures. He was especially revered in his native Martinique, which sent him to the French parliament for nearly half a century and where he was repeatedly elected mayor of Fort-de-France, the capital city.
In Paris in the 1930s he helped found the journal Black Student, which gave birth to the idea of "negritude," a call to blacks to cultivate pride in their heritage. His 1950 book "Discourse on Colonialism" was considered a classic of French political literature.
Mr. Césaire's ideas were honored and his death mourned in Africa and France as well as the Caribbean. The office of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said Mr. Sarkozy would attend Mr. Césaire's funeral, scheduled for Sunday in Fort-de-France. Students at Lycée Scoelcher, a Martinique high school where Mr. Césaire once taught, honored him in a spontaneous ceremony Thursday.
Mr. Césaire's best-known works included the essay "Negro I Am, Negro I Will Remain" and the poem "Notes From a Return to the Native Land."
Césaire helped Martinique shed its colonial status in 1946 to become an overseas department of France.
He was affiliated with the French Communist Party early in his career but became disillusioned in the 1950s and founded the Martinique Progressive Party in 1958. He later allied with the Socialist Party in France's National Assembly, where he served from 1946 to 1956 and from 1958 to 1993.
As the years passed, he remained firm in his views. In 2005 he refused to meet with Mr. Sarkozy, who was then minister of the interior, because of Mr. Sarkozy's endorsement of a bill citing the "positive role" of colonialism.