The renowned Italian writer and public intellectual Umberto Eco, who gained literary fame for the historical mystery novel The Name of the Rose, had died at the age of 84.

Eco died late Friday at his home in central Milan, Italian media reported Saturday, citing his family.

A non-religious funeral service was scheduled for Tuesday at 3 pm (1400 GMT) in Milan's landmark Sforza Castle.

Gianni Coscia, a jazz accordionist who was a life-long friend, told the La Stampa newspaper that Eco had been suffering from cancer for two years.

"Nobody thought that his end would have come so soon," Coscia said, adding he last saw his friend in mid-January, when Eco attended his wife's 80th birthday party.

Eco's condition deteriorated this week, and after refusing hospitalization, he met "a quick but not unexpected end, surrounded by his wife and two children," his editor Mario Andreose told the ANSA news agency.

Eco was born on January 5, 1932, as the son of a shopkeeper in Alessandria in northern Italy.

Often listed as a possible contender for a Nobel Literature Prize, he was one of Europe's leading intellectual figures.

The 1980 novel The Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa), made him world famous. The story of a 14th Franciscan monk who battles superstition to solve a murder in a monastery became a film starring Sean Connery six years later.

Eco's work in other areas included philosophy, linguistics and semiotics - the study of signs and symbols - as well as piercing commentary on pop culture and politics, through regular columns on the left-wing Italian weekly l'Espresso.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella honoured him as a "protagonist of Italian and international intellectual debates."

"His essays and novels brought great prestige to Italy and enriched culture everywhere," Mattarella said in a statement.

Eco's later works included Foucault's Pendulum (Il pendolo di Foucault) in 1988 and 1994's The Island of the Day Before (L'isola del giorno prima). His final novel was last year's Numero Zero, but a posthumous collection of his l'Espresso articles is due out in May.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.