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José Saramago dies


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<span style="font-size:10.5pt;">Jose Saramago, who became the first Portuguese-language winner of the Nobel Literature prize although his popularity at home was dampened by his unflinching support for Communism, blunt manner and sometimes difficult prose style, died Friday.Saramago, 87, died at his home in Lanzarote, one of Spain's Canary Islands, of multi-organ failure after a long illness, the Jose Saramago Foundation said.

"The writer died in the company of his family, saying goodbye in a serene and placid way," the foundation said.

Saramago was an outspoken man who antagonized many, and moved to the Canary Islands after a public spat with the Portuguese government in 1992.

His 1998 Nobel accolade was nonetheless widely cheered in his homeland after decades of the award eluding writers of a language used by some 170 million people around the world.

"People used to say about me, 'He's good but he's a Communist.' Now they say, 'He's a Communist but he's good,'" he said in a 1998 interview with The Associated Press.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ikq_R-HfkK1eF1T5wt9A1mGLkn9wD9GDN8KG0</span>

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