French celebrity twins Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff have died within six days of each other after contracting COVID-19.
Both television presenters, the pair rose to fame in the 1980s and were known for their atypical physical transformation and their controversial scientific works.
Igor died aged 72 at a hospital in Paris on Monday after falling ill with COVID-19. It comes six days after Grichka lost his battle against the disease.
In a statement released by his agent, the family said: “In peace and love, surrounded by his children and his family, Igor Bogdanoff left for the light on Monday, January 3, 2022.”
Igor is survived by his ex-wife, the writer Amélie de Bourbon-Parme, and their six children.
Edouard de Lamaze, the twins’ lawyer, confirmed to RTL that both had died after contracting COVID-19.
Just a day after Grichka’s death, philosophy professor and former education minister Luc Ferry, a friend of the two brothers, claimed neither had been vaccinated.
‘Famous and controversial’
Made famous in the 1980s for their TV science fiction show ‘Temps X’ (‘Time X’) on TF1, in which they appeared in a spaceship setting wearing futuristic suits, Igor and Grichka were often mocked for their deeply transformed faces, which they themselves described as “alien”.
Their show was responsible for introducing series like The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and Doctor Who to French audiences.
Despite Igor having a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Burgundy, their scientific works have always been highly controversial and have earned them the wrath of some in the scientific community who criticised the “low value” of their work, especially after the twins published physics papers in the early 2000s.
They were accused of plagiarism by the American astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan for one of their best-known publications, “Dieu et la science”, an interview with the philosopher Jean Guitton (1991).
In 2010, the French weekly newspaper Marianne published extracts from a CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) report stating that the brothers’ theses and other articles had “no scientific value”.
In 2012, 170 scientists claimed their “right to blame” after a CNRS researcher was convicted for criticising the twins’ writings.
The newspaper Marianne was convicted of defamation in 2014, but shortly afterwards the brothers were dismissed from a case against the CNRS in the Paris Administrative Court.
Much mystery surrounds the biography of the twins, who have encountered numerous legal problems.
The two brothers were also sent to court for “swindling vulnerable people”, and the trial was due to take place on January 20, 21 and 27, 2022.
The Bogdanoffs were accused of swindling a millionaire suffering from bipolar disorder in order to settle their financial problems and relaunch their cult programme Temps X.
The victim, Cyrille P., a wealthy 53-year-old former hotelier suffering from bipolar disorder for several years, committed suicide from the cliffs of Etretat, in the Seine-Maritime region, on August 31, 2018, at the height of the investigation.