Andrea Camilleri, the Sicilian author who penned the Inspector Montalbano novels and around 100 other works, has died aged 93.
His death was confirmed by a statement published on the state-owned broadcaster RAI said.
Camilleri spent much of his life working as a theatre director, screenwriter and teacher, only becoming a successful and highly prolific writer from his late 1960s onwards when most of his contemporaries were settling into retirement.
Tributes have been pouring in online to Camilleri.
David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, said: "Words that say the truth, have a different vibration compared to all others. Goodbye Andrea #Camilleri, you gifted us with the love of reading."
Matteo Renzi, ex-Prime Minister of Italy: "A great man of culture who has educated women and men from all over the world to read. A great Italian. Rip #Camilleri."
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted: "Farewell to Andrea Camilleri, father of Montalbano and tireless narrator of his Sicily."