The Italian writer, semiotic and philosopher, Umberto Eco, died on Friday at his home, confirmed local media. The cause of death is unknown and the family gave no further detail.

Eco was born in a small Italian town called Alessandria in 1932. He achieved fame for his work on semiotics, extended papers and books about the study of signs and symbols that became essential to students learning the subject through the years.

The revered literary critic, author and essayist – most famous for 1980 novel The Name of the Rose – had been suffering from cancer. Credit: The Guardian

Although he was successful in academic papers and theories, he was better known for his majesty at the moment of writing. Eco was the author of The Name of the Rose, a 1980 historical murder mystery and his best-known book of all times.

“I’ve always thought of myself as a scholar who, at a certain point, began to write novels on the weekend … in the summer,” Eco told Publisher’s Weekly last year.

The philosopher served as a Norton professor at Harvard University for one year, and also taught semiotics at Bologna University, Italy, as reported by The Huffington Post. But being a professor and a writer were not the only things he did, he was also a literary critic and wrote children’s books. Eco was certainly an academic with many expertises.

An extraordinary example of a European intellectual

The dead of the Italian writer have brought to surface thoughts about his career. Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, addressed Eco as an extraordinary example of a European intellectual, as he combined unique intelligence of the past with a limitless capacity to anticipate the future, Renzi said to the Ansa news agency.

It is an enormous loss for the culture, added Renzi. He said that his writing and voice will be missed, his sharp and lively thought, and his humanity.

Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, also commented about Eco and addressed him as the writer who changed Italian culture, as reported by The Guardian.

Source: The Huffington Post