Manos Eleftheriou, a respected Greek writer of poetry, short stories novels and songs, died of a heart attack in the early hours of Sunday, after suffering from various health problems. He was 80 years old.
Born on the Aegean island of Syros, Eleftheriou studied theater at the Stavrakos School in Athens and began writing plays and poems while doing his military service in 1960, publishing his first collection two years later at the age of 24.
He published two short-story collections soon after and in 1964 made his debut in songwriting, working with composers Christos Leontis and Mikis Theodorakis. In the years that followed, Eleftheriou worked with almost every well-known music composer in Greece, including Manos Hadjidakis, Giorgos Zambetas and Loukianos Kilaidonis.
Eleftheriou also illustrated children’s stories, edited two coffee-tables books about his native Syros, worked as a radio presenter and branched into novels in the 1990s, winning the State Literature Award in 2005 for “The Time of the Chrysanthemums.”
The Athens Academy honored Eleftheriou in 2013 for his contribution to the Greek letters.
Following news of the artist’s death on Sunday, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos praised Eleftheriou as one of the country’s great intellectuals.