Shi Pei Pu, a Beijing opera singer and spy whose sexually convoluted love affair with a French Embassy worker created one of the strangest cases in international espionage and was the inspiration for the Broadway show “M. Butterfly,” died in Paris on Tuesday.
His death was announced to Agence France-Presse by an aide.
Mr. Shi (pronounced Shuh), who was convicted of espionage in France in 1986 along with his lover, Bernard Boursicot, was believed to be 70. He had also been believed for years to be a woman, at least by Mr. Boursicot, who served time in prison after the affair and became a laughingstock in France.
Mr. Boursicot, who is 64 and has been living in a nursing home in France while recovering from a stroke, showed no sadness when he learned of Mr. Shi’s death in a telephone interview.