Portuguese poet Herberto Helder passes away

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Portuguese Poet Herberto Helder died at the age of 84 in his home in the seaside town of Cascais, around 30 km west of capital Lisbon, local media reported on Tuesday.

Helder was born in Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese island Madeira, in 1930 and was considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century in Portugal.

The poet, of Judaic ascendance, turned down the prestigious literary prize Premio Pessoa in 1994.

Portugal's Secretary of State for Culture Jorge Barreto Xavier paid homage to the poet in a statement sent to Xinhua on Tuesday.

"He (Herberto Helder) was one of the few (poets) of the last 100 years to contribute so much to the construction of the Portuguese language and who was so influential in organizing contemporary poetic language," Barreto Xavier said in the statement.

Helder published his first book, "Amor em Visita" (Love in Visit), in 1958, before he lived in France, Holland and Belgium.

He returned to Portugal in 1960, and was in charge of the itinerant libraries of the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation, before leaving to Angola in 1971 to work as a war correspondent, where he had an accident and had to be hospitalized for three months.

After recovering Helder returned to Lisbon, before setting off to the United States in 1973, the year he published "Poesia Toda" ("All Poetry").

He returned to Portugal in 1975 and worked at local radio stations and magazines.

His last work "A Morte Sem Mestre" ("Death Without a Master") was published in 2014, a year after he published "Servidoes" ("Servitudes").

Helder's funeral will take place on Wednesday and will be attended by family members only, according to a statement by publisher Porto Editora. Endit

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