The buildings collapsed on Monday morning, and emergency services have been combing through the rubble.
Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior, said: "There is very little chance of finding pockets of life [now]".
The first victim - a man - was pulled from the wreckage Tuesday, prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said, adding that he needed to be identified.
Authorities said they were looking into what caused the collapse of the buildings, described by residents of the area as dilapidated and in need of fix.
Images of the buildings before they collapsed, visible on Google Street View, showed that one of the buildings was clearly in poor fix, with boarded-up windows and large visible cracks on the facade before it collapsed. It was not immediately clear why they collapsed, or how many people the apartment building housed.
At number 65 rue d'Augagne, nine of the ten apartments were full.
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Abdou Ali, 34, came in search of his mother after she did not come to collect her youngest son from school on Monday afternoon.
The others were so dilapidated they had been condemned and were boarded up, though locals said they were frequently used by squatters.
Sophie Dorbeaux meanwhile told AFP she had left the now-demolished block on Sunday night to stay with her parents because her door, like several others, was not opening or closing properly.
"It could have been me", the 25-year-old philosophy student said, visibly shaken.
The collapse has highlighted concerns over the condition of up to 6,000 buildings in Marseille, which have been estimated to be in similarly poor fix.
The neighbourhood is home to many buildings in a similarly poor condition, some of them run by slum landlords.
The buildings were in a small shopping street in the centre of the city.