Italian actress Monica Vitti – dubbed the queen of Italian cinema – has died aged 90 due to complications from Alzheimer's.
The five-time David di Donatello winner has been absent from public life since she was diagnosed with the illness in 2001.
The news was confirmed in a statement from Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini.
“Farewell to Monica Vitti, farewell to the queen of Italian cinema. Today is a really sad day, a great artist and a great Italian disappeared," he wrote.
Who was Monica Vitti?
Born Maria Luisa Ceciarelli in Rome, on 3 November 1931, Vitti soared to stardom as an Italian film icon in the 1960s with an unforgettable string of performances in films directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, including 'La Notte' and 'L'Eclisse'.
After her time with Antonioni, she became one of the leading figures in Italian comedy. She was regularly featured alongside her male counterparts, such as Alberto Sordi, Ugo Tognazzi, Vittorio Gassman or Nino Manfredi.
She particularly shone in 'The Girl with the Gun' (1968), a successful film by Mario Monicelli where she plays Assunta, a Sicilian who pursues the man who "dishonoured" her to Scotland.
Her career later took her to international heights, culminating in a Silver Bear award for Italian-French drama 'Flirt' is at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival in 1983.
After her relationship with Antonioni, from 1957 to 1967, she married director and cinematographer Roberto Russo in 1995, after 20 years together.
In 2011, Roberto Russo announced that Monica Vitti had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for nearly 15 years.
The actress won numerous awards throughout her career, including five David di Donatello (Italian Caesars), a Golden Lion in Venice for Lifetime Achievement and a Silver Bear in Berlin.