Italian literature lost one of its most influential characters. Umberto Eco, writer, philosopher and semiotician, died aged 84. The family of the intellectual communicated it to the Italian daily La Repubblica. Eco died yesterday at 10:30 p.m. at home. He had been born in Alexandria on January 5, 1932. Among his most successful works there is The Name of the Rose (1980) and Foucault’s Pendulum (1988). His latest book, Number Zero, was published last year by Bompiani. As well as internationally successful novels, Eco in his long career he was the author of numerous essays on semiotics, medieval aesthetics, linguistics and philosophy.
President of the Council Matteo Renzi expressed his sincere condolences to the family of the writer: “An extraordinary example of an European intellectual, he joined a unique understanding of the past and an inexhaustible ability to anticipate the future”, recalls the prime minister who discussed with the Eco and President Hollande in Milan, on the occasion of Expo last June the exactly issues of European identity, scientific innovation, memory and fight against intolerance. “A huge loss for culture, which will miss his writing and voice, his sharp and lively thought, and his humanity.”
The news has gone viral on the media, where thousands of users are celebrating the figure of the Italian semiotician with photos and quotes. Bompiani’s press release was synthetic: “Culture mourns the loss of Umberto Eco: We are in grief”. Giovanna Melandri adds “The news about Umberto Eco’s death is very sad. A great intellectual and writer, a special and unique person. We will miss him a lot.” Singers such as Noemi write on the Web their impressions too: “A part of our culture and literature. Now it is up to us. Will we be able to tell our story with the same skillfulness to future Italian?” Or else: “A great Italian has left us” Ivan Scalfarotto notes. Yet, what strikes the most is the amount of messages left by ordinary people: readers and students who have been studying his books for years. The intellectual’s most quoted words are those which best represent the reason why a writer is celebrated as a rock star: “A person who does not read lives one life, of maybe seventy years; the reader lives 5000 years.”