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Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
Brazil says goodbye to revered novelist
Soldiers carry the casket of Amado
Amado's ashes will be scattered in his garden
Thousands of mourners streamed past the flower-strewn coffin of the Brazilian writer Jorge Amado on Tuesday, saying their goodbyes to the man known as "the emperor of Salvador".

Amado died of a heart attack on Monday, just a few days before his 89th birthday.

Mourners dressed in white - in recognition of Salvador's African traditions which Amado himself extolled - filed past the author's body in the government's Acclamation Palace.

Zelia Gattai
Amado's wife Zelia Gattai, herself a writer
"It's like we lost a father," said Wally Salomao, a well-known local poet. "Jorge Amado invented us. Bahia (the author's home state), as we know it, comes off the pages of Jorge Amado in such a way that we don't know what is reality and what is fiction."

Amado's remains were cremated and his ashes would be scattered under a mango tree in his garden in Salvador, said his widow, author Zelia Gattai.

"Jorge detested cemeteries," she said.

In Brasilia, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso declared three days of mourning across the country, and led the tributes to Amado which have poured in.

A literary fighter

"The legacy of Jorge Amado transcends his work," President Cardoso said.

Jorge Amado
Amado's books mixed a love of life with sharp humour
"The lesson he leaves us is of a fighter, someone who was always for justice, on the side of the oppressed; a creator who had the courage to paint Brazil in its true colours."

Amado was also an oba, a high official in a temple of Candomble, an African-based animist religion that is widely practiced in Bahia.

"He was the true father of Bahia," said Isaac da Bahia, a singer in a local band. "He didn't die. He lives, and will live forever."

The BBC's Tom Gibb
"A legend in his own lifetime"
See also:

07 Aug 01 | Americas
Brazil's top novelist Amado dies
27 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Brazil
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