(Adds confirmation, PM reaction)
BRUSSELS, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The former governor of Belgium's central bank ECB governing council member Luc Coene has died, the Belgian central bank said on Friday.
Coene, who would have turned 70 this year, took office as the head of Belgium's central bank in April 2011 and held the job until he was replaced by Jan Smets in March 2015.
Before becoming central bank governor, Coene was a senator with the Flemish liberal party (Open-VLD) and became a deputy governor of the bank in 2003.
He also headed the committee overseeing the rescue of Belgian banks during the financial crisis and the break-up of Belgo-Dutch financial group Fortis.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel expressed his condolences on social media.
"My thoughts are with the family and friends of Luc Coene. He was a talented economist who became a passionate governor," Michel said.
Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, editing by Larry King