Hackers attacked the website of a prominent Canadian newspaper early on Tuesday and posted a false news item alleging Quebec Premier Jean Charest had died of a heart attack, the paper said.

The fake entry remained on the site of the Le Devoir paper for more than an hour and was repeated by users on the Twittermicroblogging system before engineers were able to delete it.

We offer our most sincere apologies to the premier. Measures are being taken to find the person responsible for this crime, the newspaper said on its website.

Polls show Charest's governing Liberals trailing separatists who want independence for the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec.

In June, hackers posted an item on the website of the Canada's governing Conservative Party, falsely alleging Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been taken to hospital after choking at breakfast.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)