Stephane Hessel, author of 2010 manifesto 'Indignez-Vous' (Time for Outrage), died in the night early Wednesday morning.

The short pamphlet extolling the values of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation of France is credited with inspiring the global 'indignants' movement. It sold around 4.5 million copies around the world, including 2 million in France alone.

In the work, the former diplomat denounced the growing gap between the rich and poor, the treatment of illegal immigrants and the tyranny of the financial markets.

Hessel, a life-long left-wing activist, supported current French President Francois Hollande during the last French elections.

The philosopher was born in Berlin in 1917 and received French citizenship at the age of 20. After supporting the French Resistance during the Second World War, he was arrested by the Gestapo in 1941 and deported to the Buchenwalk concentration camp.

After the war he went on to have a career in diplomacy with the UN and participated in the production of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

French left-wing politicians including Segolene Royal and Martine Aubry paid tribute to Hessel's life and work. Valerie Trierweiler, Hollande's partner, took to Twitter to commemorate his 'exceptional life'.