Italian writer Umberto Eco dies at 84

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Umberto Eco. Photo: December 2010Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Umberto Eco's last book - Numero Zero - was published last year

The Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose, has died aged 84.

According to a family member who asked not to be identified, he died late on Friday from cancer.

The Name of the Rose was made into a film in 1986 starring Scottish actor Sean Connery.

Eco, who also wrote the novel Foucault's Pendulum, continued to publish new works, with Numero Zero released last year.

He also wrote children's books and literary criticism.

Eco once wrote that "books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told".

"I am a philosopher," he was quoted as saying. "I write novels only on the weekends."

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi led tributes to Eco.

"He was an extraordinary example of a European intellectual," Mr Renzi said.

"He embodied both the unique intelligence of the past and a tireless capacity for anticipating the future."

Eco founded the communications department at the University of San Marino in the 1980s.

He was later professor emeritus and chairman of the Higher School of Humanities of the University of Bologna.

Eco was born in Alessandria, northern Italy, in 1932.

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