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Ahmed Fouad Negm, an Egyptian poet who was frequently jailed for criticizing the country’s leaders, has died at age 84. He died Tuesday morning.
Daily News Egypt reports that the news was confirmed by his publisher. The funeral was held in the Al Sayeda Aisha neighborhood, with family, friends and other celebrities in attendance.
According to The Associated Press Negm was best known as the ‘poet of the people,’ as he wrote in colloquial Arabic and many felt that his work best captured their feelings after milestones in modern Egypt’s history. He rose to fame in the 1970s, when he performed with musician Sheikh Imam Issa.
Negm spent several years in prison during his life because of his criticisms of leaders like Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, notes Reuters. He continued to be politically active during the recent revolts in Egypt, even being critical of the country’s first elected leader, Mohamed Mursi, who has since been pushed out of office.
“I am not a humble person and I am not stupid; I know I am a poet that has affected this nation,” Negm once said in an interview, notes the AP.
His son, Nawara Negm, was a major figure during the 2011 revolt. He also had two daughters, Zeinab and Afaf.