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Playwright, Nobel laureate Dario Fo dies

AAP logoAAP 13/10/2016

Nobel prize-winning Italian playwright and actor Dario Fo has died at the age of 90.

According to Italian media, Fo passed away in a hospital in Milan where he had been admitted a few days ago with respiratory problems.

Fo, famous for his cutting political satire in plays such as The Accidental Death of an Anarchist, won the Nobel prize for literature in 1997.

The Nobel committee said Fo emulated "the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden," while in 2007, Britain's Telegraph newspaper ranked him seventh among the world's Top 100 living geniuses, alongside Stephen Hawking.

In Italy, his enemies ranged from the communist party to Pope Paul VI, who dubbed Mistero Buffo - possibly Fo's most famous work, a three-hour dialogue between an angel and a drunkard on Jesus' miraculous turning of water into wine - as blasphemous.

In the 1990s and 2000s, he was a vocal critic of former conservative prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who was himself the target of Fo's sharp wit, sent his condolences.

"With Dario Fo, Italy loses one of the great protagonists of theatre, culture and the civic life of our country," Renzi said.

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