Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish writer and journalist who gained international acclaim for his books chronicling wars, coups and revolutions in Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world, died following heart surgery, his publisher said.
He was 74.
Kapuscinski died on Tuesday at Warsaw's Banacha hospital, said Marek Zakowski, president of the Czytelnik publishing house, which published several of Kapuscinski's books and is editing a new one, "Lappidarium 6."
Zakowski declined to give any more details about the surgery or the precise cause of death.
Poland's parliament honored him with a moment of silence on Wednesday morning, and Speaker Marek Jurek praised him as "a witness of human suffering and a witness of people's hopes."
Kapuscinski launched a career in the late 1950s and early 1960s that would see him become a master of reportage.
In those years, he served as the sole Africa correspondent for the Polish Press Agency, or PAP, reporting on the
upheaval across the continent as African nations shook off colonial rule and declared independence.
He went on to publish books such as "The Emperor," probably his most popular book, a chronicle of the decline of Haile Selassie's regime in Ethiopia.
But the book, published in 1978, was more a reflection on dictatorships in general, and widely interpreted by Polish readers as a criticism of Poland's communist regime.
Kapuscinski once said the book was more about the "mechanism of dictatorial rule."
Three years later, he published "Shah of Shahs," a book about the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled Iran's Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Several of Kapuscinski's books were translated into English. He also wrote "Another Day of Life," about the Angolan civil war, "Imperium," about the waning days of the Soviet Union, "The Soccer War," and "The Shadow of the Sun."
In past years, he was often mentioned as a likely contender for the Nobel Prize for literature by oddsmakers and followers of the prize - though the Swedish Academy itself is secretive about who it considers.
In 2003 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award, the Spanish-speaking world's closest equivalent to the Nobels.
Kapuscinski was born in March 4, 1932, in Pinsk, a city then in eastern Poland, and now located in Belarus.
He is survived by his wife, Alicja, and a daughter who lives in Canada, Zakowski said.