Salma Hayek's French billionaire husband pledges 100m euros to help rebuild Notre Dame

Salma Hayek's French billionaire husband pledges 100m euros to help rebuild Notre Dame

Last night, reports emerged from France that the iconic Notre Dame cathedral, regarded as Paris' beating heart, had been partially destroyed by a major fire.

It has since transpired that firefighters were able to save the 850-year-old landmark's stone structure and its two towers, but the building's roof and spire collapsed in the blaze.

Here's the heartbreaking moment that the Notre Dame spire collapsed:

The cause of the fire, which was eventually said to be under control nine hours after its commencement, is as yet unknown, though officials have said that it could be linked to extensive rennovation works. It will take several days for the fire to be completely extinguished, it's anticipated.

A local fire brigade spokesperson is reported as saying. "the whole of the roof has been devastated... a part of the vault has collapsed, the spire is no more".

In the wake of the incident, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged an international fundraising scheme for the necessary reconstructive works;

"We'll rebuild this cathedral all together and it's undoubtedly part of the French destiny and the project we'll have for the coming years," said an emotional Macron, who dubbed the fire a "terrible tragedy".

Now, it's emerged that French billionaire businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, who is the chief executive of the Kering Group (which owns fashion brands Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent), has pledged 100 million euros to help rebuild the cathedral.

Pinault, who is married to Hollywood actor Salma Hayek, released a statement via AFP, which was subsequently reported on Twitter.

"My father (François Pinault) and I have decided to release from Artemis funds a sum of 100 million euros to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame." 

Reuters News Agency additionally reports that another 200 million euros has been pledged by Bernard Arnault's family and their company LVMH.

As for Notre Dame's treasures, the BBC reports that rescue teams were able to retrieve valuable artwork and religious items.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo;

"We had a chain of solidarity, especially in saving the works of art... [They] were able to be saved and put in a safe place

"This is a tragedy for the whole world... Notre-Dame is the entire history of Paris."

And messages of support poured in from around the world.

"Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief," tweeted former US President Barack Obama. "It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can."

President Trump tweeted;

"So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"

And later, "God bless the people of France!"

UK Prime Minister Theresa May described the incident as "terrible".

As per the BBC, thousands congregated in the streets around Notre Dame cathedral, watching the scene. Several churches in Paris rang their bells in response to the fire.