Portugal holds national mourning for writer Eduardo Lourenço

LISBON, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Portugal had a day of mourning on Wednesday for the passing of 97-year-old Eduardo Lourenço, who is considered one of the greatest writers and thinkers of Portuguese culture of all time.

Professor, philosopher and several times awarded with international distinctions, Lourenço received honors from practically all Portuguese entities related to culture, in addition to universities, cultural organizations and government entities.

The Portuguese ambassador to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), António Sampaio da Nóvoa, paid tribute to the deceased writer, calling him the "greatest intellectual" in Portugal, on the entity's Executive Council.

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa decreed the day as a "national mourning" to highlight the importance that Lourenço represented for the country.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa reaffirmed Portugal's gratitude to Lourenço, who had dedicated "practically a century of service" to the country.

The head of state called the writer "the greatest thinker about Portugal," having "thought Portugal throughout his life" and in his more than 40 books.

"He always wrote about what Portugal is, its history, what it means to be Portuguese, what our identity is, what we mean today and in the future," he noted.

Lourenço was born on May 23, 1923, and worked at the University of Coimbra, at the universities of Hamburg and Heidelberg, in Germany, in Montpellier (France), and in Brazil, in addition to being a cultural advisor to the Portuguese Embassy in Rome.

The writer received the Camões Prize (1996) and the Pessoa Prize (2011), among other distinctions.

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