Abbas Kiarostami, award-winning Iranian filmmaker, dead at 76

Director Abbas Kiarostami won numerous international awards over an almost five decade career.

(CNN)Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has died, the semi-official FARS news agency reports. He was 76.

Kiarostami worked on more than 40 films over a career that spanned almost five decades. His "Taste of Cherry" won him the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997.
The filmmaker had been diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer in March, and underwent a series of operations in the months before his death.
    Born in Tehran in 1940, Kiarostami worked as a commercial director for Iranian TV before he joined the Tehran Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (Kanun), where he set up a film-making department.
    His first feature film was 1977's "Report," about the life of a tax collector accused of accepting bribes.
    Kiarostami found major international acclaim with 1990's "Close-Up," which tells the real-life story of a man who impersonated filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, conning people into believing they will star in his new film. Towards the end of that decade, he won the Palme d'Or and the Grand Jury Prize at the 1999 Venice International Film Festival for "The Wind Will Carry Us."
    Another award followed in 2000 at the San Francisco Film Festival, where Kiarostami was awarded the Akira Kurosawa Prize for lifetime achievement in directing, only to give the prize away to veteran Iranian actor Behrooz Vossoughi in recognition of his contributions to Iranian cinema.
    His final film "Like Someone In Love," set and shot in Japan, was released in 2012.
    Veteran New York Times film critic A. O. Scott described Kiarostami in a 2003 review as "perhaps the most internationally admired Iranian filmmaker of the past decade."
    Kiarostami is survived by his two sons, Ahmad and Bahman. He divorced their mother, Parvin Amir-Gholi, in 1982.