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Chinua Achebe's body arrives in Nigeria ahead of burial

The body of renowned Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, who died in March, arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday ahead of his burial in his home state.

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Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is pictured in 2009 during a welcoming ceremony upon his return to Nigeria for the firrst time in over 10 years. Achebe, whose most famous work is 1958's "Things Fall Apart," has published his long-awaited memoir, "There Was a Country," about the Biafran war. (ABAYOMI ADESHIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

The body of renowned Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, who died in March, arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday ahead of his burial in his home state of Anambra.

Achebe, whose body arrived from the US, died in Boston at the age of 82 following an illness. Relatives of the "father of modern African literature" as well as officials were at southern Nigeria's Enugu airport as Achebe's coffin was lowered from the plane.

He was then taken to a stadium in Awka, where some 2,000 people had gathered and the Anglican archbishop of Anambra prayed over his body.

"Indeed a great man of letters has gone, but we are consoled that his good works and deeds will endure for long," said Innocent Okechukwu, a 27-year-old lawyer at the stadium.

More from GlobalPost: Chinua Achebe: Nigeria author dies at 82

Achebe is to be buried Thursday in his hometown of Ogidi on his family compound in a ceremony expected to be attended by fellow writers, local officials, foreign dignitaries and the Archbishop of Canterbury. A service at a local Anglican church will follow.

Achebe was best known for his 1958 debut novel "Things Fall Apart," which has sold more than 10 million copies. He went on to write another 20 works, some critical of politicians and what he called a failure of leadership in Nigeria.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/130522/chinua-achebes-body-arrives-nigeria-ahead-burial