BEIRUT: Centenarian Lebanese poet, playwright and language reformer Said Akl died Friday.
“Lebanon and the Arabs lost today a giant of poetry… May God’s mercy be on Said Akel,” tweeted former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Marada party leader and MP Sleiman Frangieh reacted to Akl’s passing by tweeting “Lebanon’s Akl (Arabic for intellect) in God’s hands.”
Akl, considered one of the most important modern Lebanese poets, was born in 1911 to a Maronite Catholic family in the city of Zahle, Lebanon.
A staunch advocate of Lebanese identity and nationalism, Akl is famous for his design of a Latin-based “Lebanese alphabet” made up of 37 letters.
His writings include poetry and prose both in Lebanese dialect and in classical Arabic language.
He also wrote theater pieces and authored many popular songs and pan-Arab anthems.
An earlier version of this story said that Akl died at the age of 102. He celebrated his 103 birthday in July 2014.