A spokesman for the centre confirmed Wiesel's death to AFP, but had no further details. Wiesel was reported to be 87 and had been living in the United States.

The centre confirmed that "he did pass away several hours ago", said spokesman Simmy Allen late yesterday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement in reaction to Wiesel's death called him a "beacon of light and an exemplar of humanity that believes in man's good".

"The state of Israel and the Jewish people bitterly mourn the death of Elie Wiesel," Netanyahu said.

"Elie, a master of words, expressed in his unique personality and fascinating books the victory of human spirit over cruelty and evil.

"In the darkness of the Holocaust, in which six million of our brothers and sisters perished, Elie Wiesel was a beacon of light and an exemplar of humanity that believes in man's good."

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