Author, novelist, journalist and intellectual Amos Oz died in Tel Aviv on Friday at the age of 79. His daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, announced that he had died “in his sleep, peacefully,” after a short battle with cancer.
Born Amos Klausner, Oz changed his name to the Hebrew word for “courage” when he embraced Zionism at the age of 14.
He was the author of 40 books published in 45 languages and was widely celebrated in his lifetime. His many awards included the Legion of Honour of France, the Goethe Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Prince of Asturias Award in Literature, the Heinrich Heine Prize, the Israel Prize and many others. From The Guardian:
“There will not be another Amos Oz, there was only one like him. You can say this about every human being, of course, but there was something unique about Amos,” Grossman told the Observer.
“Those who appreciated him – and not only appreciated, but needed his clear, sharp voice – have lost someone who made their lives better. When a person like Amos – a man of such grandeur, and I don’t say that easily – passes away, the world is diminished a little, it’s narrowed down a little.”
Oz, who died on 28 December aged 79, was one of Israel’s best-known writers and intellectuals, and a prominent advocate for peace with the Palestinians. His books were translated into dozens of languages, and his acclaimed autobiography, A Tale of Love and Darkness, was made into a film in 2015, directed by Natalie Portman.
For her part, Portman posted on Instagram: “My heart is broken. Today we lost a soul, a mind, a heart, Amos Oz, who brought so much beauty, so much love, and a vision of peace to our lives. Please hold him in your hearts and read his gorgeous books. My most loving embrace to his family, who he loved extremely.”
The New York Times remembers Oz here.