SAO PAULO – Award-winning Brazilian writer Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro died Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Globo television reported. He was 73.
The author of books like “Sargento Getulio” and “O Sorriso do Lagarto (The Lizard’s Smile), Ribeiro suffered a pulmonary embolism before dawn Friday at his home in Rio’s Leblon neighborhood.
Honored in 2008 with the Camões Prize, the most prestigious literary distinction in the Portuguese-speaking world, Ribeiro was inducted in 1993 into the Brazilian Academy of the Arts.
Ribeiro, whose books have been translated into 10 languages, was also a journalist and screenwriter.
Ribeiro was born on Jan. 23, 1941, in the northeastern state of Bahia, and later was taken to Sergipe state where he lived until he was 11 years old with his father, a teacher and politician. In the course of his life he also lived in Portugal and Germany.
A law student in 1962, he never went on to practice that profession and at 21 wrote his first book, “Setembro Nao Tem Sentido” (September Has No Sense).
After learning of his death, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that literature “has lost a great name.”
“In this moment of sorrow, I lend my solidarity to his family, friends and readers,” she said in a note.
A vigil for the writer will be held in the Brazilian Academy of the Arts and he will later be buried in the academy’s mausoleum, located in the Sao Joao Batista Cemetery, in the Rio neighborhood of Botafogo.