'Romeo and Juliet' director Franco Zeffirelli says sad farewells to fans at the age of 96.
Italian media reported on Saturday that the director who is famous for adaptations of Shakespearean love stories died after a long illness which had grown worse in recent months.
The two-time Oscar nominee died at his residence in Rome "without suffering," his son Pippo told media.
In a career spanning more than 60 years, his 'Romeo and Juliet' was the one winning him an Oscar nom and introduced a new generation to Shakespearean tragedy as a 1968 adaptation. The director was also a prolific opera producer, creating over 100 in his career.
Dario Nardella who is the mayor of the director's home city, Florence, reacted to Zeffirelli's death in the social media, praising him as "one of the world's greatest men of culture".
Gianfranco Zeffirelli was born on in 1923 on the outskirts of Florence.
Once said in a media interview about his artistic career, "I am not a film director. I am a director who uses different instruments to express his dreams and his stories — to make people dream."