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Walt Disney Company pledges $5 million to help rebuild Notre Dame

PARIS — About 13 years after making an animated film centered on Notre Dame, the Walt Disney Company is helping to rebuild the iconic French landmark.

The Walt Disney Company pledged $5 million Wednesday to help rebuild the cathedral at the heart of Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame."

The blaze at Notre Dame on Monday devastated large parts of the 850-year-old church, including its iconic spire. The fire was extinguished after nine hours.

“Notre-Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history," said Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company.

"The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbors in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a $5 million donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece."

The news comes after billionaires behind many of France's top luxury brands pledged €300 million ($339 million) to help reconstruct the Paris cathedral.

LVMH Group, which owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy, said Tuesday that the company, along with the family of CEO Bernard Arnault, would put up €200 million ($226 million).

The company said in a statement that the donation showed "solidarity with this national tragedy" and that funds would be used to rebuild this "extraordinary cathedral" and symbol of French heritage and unity.

LVMH will also make its creative and financial teams available to help with rebuilding and soliciting donations.

The family of François Pinault, which controls brands including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, has pledged an additional €100 million ($113 million).

Pinault's son, François-Henri Pinault, who is president of the Artemis Group holding company, called the massive blaze at Notre Dame a tragedy.

"This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values," he said in a statement.

"Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible," he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the site, saying Monday that France will launch an international fundraising campaign to assist with the effort.

Early pledges from some of the richest families in the world could help.

Arnault is the third richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth comes in at $90.4 billion, more than that of Warren Buffett or Mark Zuckerberg.

The Pinault family is worth an estimated $37.3 billion, per Bloomberg. François-Henri Pinault, who manages the family's businesses, is married to actress Salma Hayek.

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