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Camilleri, author of Montalbano detective series, dies at 93

FILE - In this March 5, 2001 file photo, Italian author Andrea Camilleri reads a Luigi Priandello novel at Rome's Piccolo Eliseo theater. Camilleri, known for his popular novels and TV series centered on the much-loved inspector Salvo Montalbano, died in Rome, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at age 93. Camilleri was Italy’s most successful writer, but until he was nearly 70 he had been a virtually unknown author of a handful of historical novels set in his native Sicily. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

ROME — Sicilian writer Andrea Camilleri , who won loyal fans worldwide for his series of books about Sicilian detective Montalbano, has died. He was 93.

RAI state TV, which produced wildly popular TV versions of his books, interrupted programming to announce his death Wednesday and comment on his works.

Rome hospital system also announced his death, a few weeks after the long-ailing author was hospitalized with heart problems.

Long a successful director for stage and TV, including for RAI, Camilleri was nearly 70 when he also scored literary success.

Camilleri, whose 100th book was published when he was 91, set most of his works on his native Sicily.

He was frequently Italy’s bestselling author, especially for his books, laced with Sicilian dialect, about a likable small-town police chief who mixed morality with pragmatism in sleuthing.

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The Associated Press