Her family said she died in hospital on Saturday after a long illness.
Born in Algeria – when it was still a French colony – she began her career as a model before deciding to take up photography.
In the late 1960s, she produced memorable portraits of artists Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp and writer Philippe Soupault.
She covered the Vietnam War early in her career and achieved success despite her relative lack of experience.
In her diary from 1985, she wrote: “I said to myself: People will see that I am not a real photographer.” She remembers that she only had an old Leica camera.
“Actually, it was then that I realized that this ancient Leica was a marvel.”
She said she faced particular challenges while working as a war photographer. “If you were a woman, you wouldn’t be taken seriously.”
On the other hand, she added, “There is an advantage to being a woman, as there was in South Africa – they don’t kill you right away, they give you a chance.”
Chad Moussa Faki, the current chairperson of the African Union Commission, paid tribute today, Saturday, speaking of his “extreme sadness” at the news of his death.
He wrote on Twitter that his photos “immortalized part of Chad’s history.”
De Decker spent most of his career at the Gamma photo agency: from 1971 until its closure in 2009.
Their association ended on bad terms. When she asked for her photos back, she only got the black and white photos and not the color photos and she lost a subsequent legal attempt to get them back and her digital copies of the photos were identified.
Marie-Laurie Decker is also known for her portraits of celebrities such as French singer Serge Gainsbourg, Caroline Monaco, and former French President Valerie Giscard d’Estaing.
She had two sons with lawyer Thierry Levy.