CO DONEGAL, Ireland, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Renowned Irish playwright Brian Friel, known for penning the famous play Dancing at Lughnasa, died early Friday morning. He was 86 years old.
The writer, who is by many regarded as "Ireland's Chekhov," died in his Co Donegal home from illness. His family, including wife and daughters, were reportedly at his bedside when he died.
Those close to Friel expressed their sadness over the great wordsmith's passing. Irish President Michael D. Higgins called Friel a "giant" of Irish Literature and a "great Irishman."
"He was a man of powerful intellect, great courage and generosity," he said. "These were talents that he delivered with great humour, grit and compassion."
The nation's prime minister, or Taoiseach, Enda Kenny added Friel's work, "spoke to each of us with humour, emotion and authenticity."
Actors who have been at one point inspired or influenced by Friel and his work took to Twitter to share their condolences and memories of the writer.
Scottish actor Daniel Portman of Game of Thrones also wrote a message in remembrance of Friel: "Rest in Peace, Brian Friel. Living Quarters is one of my favourite plays. A truly great playwright. Really sad to hear about this!"
Friel was born in January 1929, although the precise date of his birth was reportedly never clear. During the 1980s, Friel headed the Field Day Theatre Company alongside actor Stephen Rea, which became a commentating force during time of political division.
In 1990, he penned the famous Dancing at Lughnasa, which was adapted for the big screen in 1998 starring Meryl Streep.
In 1992, the production won three Tony Awards, among which were for Best Play, putting Friel and his home on the map alongside great playwrights of the Western world.
He is also known for plays such as Translations, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, and The Gentle Island.