Umberto Eco, Italian writer and philosopher, dies aged 84: media report
Italian author Umberto Eco – a philosopher who has written bestselling novels, including The Name of the Rose – has died at age 84, Italian media reported, citing his family.
Eco, who was suffering from cancer, died at 9:30 p.m. local time on Friday, La Repubblica newspaper reported.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest writers of modern Italian literature, Eco was born on January 5, 1932 in Alessandria, in northern Piedmont.
His last name would be an acronym from Latin ex caelis oblatus, “A gift from heaven”, which was given to his grandfather – a founding father – by a city official.
The young Eco had a Roman Catholic education, being educated in one of the schools of the Salesian institution.
His father was very keen on him reading law, but he turned to medieval philosophy and literature at the University of Turin.
In the late 1950s he began to develop ideas about semiotics.
Eco was appointed professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna in the 1970s and published a treatise outlining his theories.
Its breakthrough, to a much larger audience, came in 1980 with the success of The Name of the Rose.
A Gothic murder mystery set in a medieval Italian monastery, the novel combines semiotics, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory.
It was adapted for the big screen by Jean-Jacques Annaud in 1986, along with Sean Connery and Christian Slater, and has sold millions of copies.
Eco, who continued his academic work late in life, was also known for other works such as Foucault’s Pendulum (1988), The Island of the Day Before (1994), Baudolino (2000) and The Cemetery. of Prague (2010).