Andrea Camilleri, Inspector Montalbano author, dead at 93

Italian writer Andrea Camilleri, photographed in Rome in 2011

(CNN)Andrea Camilleri, the bestselling Italian author of the Inspector Montalbano crime series, has died in Rome at the age of 93.

The writer had been in a critical condition in Rome's Santo Spirito hospital since suffering a cardiac arrest last month.
"The ever-critical conditions of these days have worsened in the last hours, compromising his vital functions," the hospital said in a statement to CNN. "To respect the will of the Master and his family, the funeral will be private. It will be announced where to bring a last tribute."
    Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series has been translated into 32 languages and reached international television audiences in an adaptation by Italian broadcaster RAI.
    Born in Porto Empedocle, Sicily in 1925, Camilleri spent most of his working life as a director and screenwriter at RAI. His crime-writing career didn't take off until he was 70.
    Nonetheless, his books have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, according to the ANSA news agency.
    Most of his output of more than 100 books features Salvo Montalbano, a police inspector in the fictional Sicilian town of Vigàta.
    "I didn't think I was capable of enough imagination for such a long series, but I managed to do it," Camilleri told ANSA on the 20th anniversary of the publication of his first Montalbano book.
      In a statement to local media, Carlo Fontana, president of the Italian showbusiness association, AGIS, praised Camilleri's "versatile talent, born to tell stories and capable of moving from literature to directing, from being a first-rate author both in television and in theater. For Italian culture, it is an immense loss."
      Italian police tweeted: "An affectionate arrivederci to Andrea #Camilleri. The Commissario #Montalbano has revealed so much of our jobs, bringing to light the humanity of policemen always at the service of the community. We will miss you, Maestro."