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Nobel winner Debreu dies at 83

Gerard Debreu, a former economist at the University of California at Berkeley who won a Nobel Prize for his mathematical models of supply and demand, has died. He was 83.

Mr. Debreu died Friday (Dec. 31, 2004) in Paris, his son-in-law, Richard De Soto said. He had suffered a series of strokes and had been in an assisted living center. "He had been quite ill for the last year," De Soto said.

Mr. Debreu taught at UC-Berkeley for more than 30 years. He won the 1983 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his theoretical work on how prices operate to balance supply and demand.

"He really was the most important contributor to the development of formal math models within economics," said Berkeley professor Robert Anderson, in a statement from the university. "He brought to economics a mathematical rigor that had not been seen before."

Born in the northern French coastal city of Calais, Mr. Debreu stopped his mathematics studies to enlist in the French Army after the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

He resumed his studies after the war, focusing on economics.

He took U.S. citizenship in 1975 _ partly out of admiration for the manner in which the Watergate hearings were conducted, said De Soto, who is married to Mr. Debreu's oldest daughter, Chantal.

"He was actually impressed by the progress of the Watergate hearings, impressed how the United States could dig up dirt and utilize it," he said. "He thought it was a just country."