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South African Nobel literature laureate Nadine Gordimer said Friday she was saddened by the death of her "close dear friend" Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe.
"He was not only a great writer but a close dear friend of mine, I was shocked that he has left us," Gordimer told AFP.
Gordimer, 89, described Achebe's death as a great loss to the continent and the literature world.
"He was a widely read individual and a humanist," she said.
"We corresponded but haven't seen him in a couple of years," she added.
Achebe, 82, died in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He had lived and worked as a professor in the United States in recent years, most recently at Brown University in Rhode Island.
He is best known internationally for his debut novel "Things Fall Apart", which depicts the collision between British rule and traditional Igbo culture in his native southeast Nigeria.
Achebe was also a strong critic of graft and misrule in his country.
Gordimer said her advice to everyone is to "read, read, read all his work, from 'Things Fall Apart' to his last work."