Italian author Umberto Eco dies aged 84

The revered literary critic, author and essayist,  most famous for 1980 novel 'The Name of the Rose', had been suffering from cancer

Baku. 20 February. REPORT.AZ/ The novelist and intellectual Umberto Eco has died aged 84. Eco, who was perhaps best known for his 1980 work The Name of the Rose, was one of the world’s most revered literary names, Report informs citing the foreign media, the author, who had been suffering from cancer, died on Friday night.

Eco was the 1992-1993 Norton professor at Harvard and taught semiotics at Bologna University. He once suggested that writing novels was a mere part-time occupation, saying: “I am a philosopher; I write novels only on the weekends.”

'The Name of the Rose' was Eco’s first novel but he had been publishing works for more than 20 years beforehand.

The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, led tributes to Eco. “He was an outstanding example of a European intellectual, a single intelligence with an untiring ability to anticipate the future,” Renzi told local media.

“It’s a huge loss for culture, which will miss his writing and his voice, sharp and vivid thought and his humanity.”

Eco was born in Allessandria, in the northern Italian region of Piedmont and went to a Salesian school. He developed an interest in medieval philosophy and literature and studied the subjects at the University of Turin in the 1950s. It was around that time that the he turned his back on the Catholic church.

He went on to work for the Italian broadcaster Rai and began to lecture at his alma mater. Eco’s first book is an extension of his doctoral thesis, was published in 1956. Six years later, he married the academic Renate Ramge.

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