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French screen idol Alain Delon thanks his fans

Alain Delon, congratulated by his daughter Anouchka Delon after his honorary Palme d'or. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Veteran French screen idol Alain Delon has paid tribute to his fans in an open letter, telling them that they made him the man he is.

In the letter sent to the French news agency AFP, the 83-year-old film star, who was awarded an Honorary Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival last Sunday, said he wanted to thank all those who had shown him “affection, sympathy and more”.

'Only you'

“As my journey nears its end, I want to say this: I have experienced so many great passions and lovers, so many successes and failures, so much controversy, so many scandals, stormy affairs, so many memories, so many missed opportunities, unexpected meetings, so many highs and lows; that when these awards are no longer any more than old souvenirs, there is only one thing whose constancy and longevity shines through – and that is you, only you.

“To you, who have made me who I am, and who will make me who I become, I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Alain Delon received a standing ovation at the Cannes film festival on Sunday and was moved to tears when he accepted his award.

The festival authorities maintained their decision to recognise Delon’s long cinema career with an award, despite an online petition calling for the idea to be dropped.

The organisers of the petition, citing previous comments by Delon, branded him a racist homophobic misogynist.