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“[He was] an extraordinary example of a European intellectual, combining unique intelligence of the past with a limitless capacity to anticipate the future,” said Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi. “It’s an enormous loss for culture, which will miss his writing and voice, his sharp and lively thought, and his humanity,” Renzi told the Ansa news agency.
Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said Eco remained youthful until his last day. “A master who brought Italian culture to the whole world,” Franceschini wrote on Twitter.
Leading daily Corriere della Sera described Eco as “The writer who changed Italian culture”, while newspaper La Stampa described a country in mourning for the author’s death.
Through Eco’s academic writings and his bestselling books, he became a respected intellectual voice both in Italy and abroad.
Internationally, he remains most well-known for his bestseller The Name of the Rose, a medieval detective novel set in an Italian abbey, which follows Brother William of Baskerville as he investigates a series of suspicious deaths. The novel captured imaginations globally and was turned into a film starring Sean Connery as Brother William.