PRINCE Rainier of Monaco, Europe's longest-serving monarch who brought glamour to his Mediterranean principality with his marriage to Hollywood star Grace Kelly, has died.
Monaco's royal palace made the announcement this morning.
The Prince, who was 81, has been in intensive care since March 22 with heart, kidney and breathing problems.
His death came nearly a full month after he was first admitted with a lung infection to a heart and chest clinic that overlooks Monaco's glittering, yacht-filled harbour.
Rainier, Europe's longest-reigning monarch, died at 6.35am.
Prince Albert, his son and heir, was at his side. Rainier's doctors called Albert a little before 6am local time to tell him that the end was near, the palace said.
Rainier's romance with Grace Kelly captivated the world.
They met in 1955 when she was the 25-year-old star attraction of the Cannes Film Festival.
Their marriage in 1956 put Monaco on the world stage.
He never remarried after her death in a car accident in 1982.
Albert, their only son, succeeds Rainier as Monaco's de facto ruler until a formal investiture ceremony expected after a mourning period.
Albert had already taken over the royal powers - but not the throne - from his father last week after a royal commission decided that Rainier was too sick to rule.
Monaco, no larger than New York's Central Park, is nestled on the Mediterranean Coast between Italy and the French Riviera.
After assuming the throne in 1949, Rainier, affectionately known as the "builder prince", embarked on five decades of relentless expansion. Using landfill from the sea, Monaco increased its territory by 20%.