Acclaimed Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli has passed away at the age of 96.

Zeffirelli, who also worked as a producer of operas, films and television, is arguably best known for directing the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, a project which went on to earn him an Academy Award nomination

Fans of Zeffirelli will argue that his work a year earlier, in 1967, is among his best. A famed version of The Taming of the Shrew, which starred the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, remains to this day as the best known adaptation of that play.

Zeffirelli, an extremely private man, passed away after a long illness at his house in Rome on 15 June 2019, at the age of 96. His son Luciano confirmed his passing in a statement issued to the Associated Press: “He had suffered for a while, but he left in a peaceful way,” he said.

“Franco Zeffirelli, one of the world’s greatest men of culture, passed away this morning,” Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence, posted on social media. “Goodbye dear Maestro, Florence will never forget you.”

One of the world’s greatest creatives, Zeffirelli received an honorary knighthood from the British government in 2004 when he was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In 2009, He was awarded the Premio Colosseo in 2009 by the city of Rome.

RIP.

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