George Whitman, 98, the American bibliophile whose iconic English-language Paris bookshop, CQ Shakespeare & Co., has been a haven for book lovers for more than half a century, died Wednesday 12/14, store officials announced. Mr. Whitman "died peacefully at home in the apartment above his bookshop," two months after a stroke, a Web posting said.

Nestled on the left bank of the Seine River, Shakespeare & Co. is a warren of books, stacked with volumes from floor to ceiling. Since its founding in 1951, the shop has been a beacon for writers and would-be writers, whom Mr. Whitman allowed to crash in the store in exchange for help around the shop. Boarders, browsers, and Mr. Whitman's beloved pets could be seen snoozing among the stacks.

He was born in East Orange, N.J. His twin loves of the written word and foreign travel were nurtured early on. After a host of adventures abroad in his early 20s, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He moved to Paris permanently under the GI Bill in 1948. Three years later, he founded his bookshop in a rickety old building. - AP