By Associated Press - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - Valeri Petrov, Bulgaria’s most prominent contemporary poet, who translated the complete works of Shakespeare, has died at age 94.

Petrov’s family said he died Wednesday in a Sofia hospital following a stroke.

Valeri Nissim Mevorah, better known by his pen-name, Valeri Petrov, was born on April 22, 1920, in Sofia to a Jewish father and Bulgarian mother.

Besides poems, novels and translations from Russian, Italian and English, Petrov authored numerous film scripts and plays - both for adults and children.

During World War II he took part in the resistance against the pro-Nazi regime in Bulgaria and remained close to left-wing political thought through his life.

In 1970, he clashed with the communist regime in Bulgaria after refusing to sign an official petition denouncing the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn. As a result, Petrov was not allowed to publish for years, so he turned to translating.

Petrov was held in high esteem in his country and after the collapse of the totalitarian regime in 1989, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature by Bulgaria’s Writers’ Union, his family said.

Petrov is survived by his daughter, Boyana Petrova.

Funeral arrangements haven’t been announced.

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