Umberto Eco, the author of “Foucault’s Pendulum” and other great works, has passed away.

According to The ABC, Eco’s last name was an acronym of the Latin phrase “ex caelis oblatus,” which means, “a gift from the heavens.” And indeed, the author-philosopher was. He created novels that challenged readers to think, to brush up on their vocabulary, as well as to re-examine the backbone of their beliefs.

Eco was chiefly a semiotician, and he was a professor of Ivy League universities for the most part. At the time of his death, he was a professor emeritus at the University of Bologna.

Aside from the University of Bologna, Eco counts the Harvard University and the Columbia University as two of the other universities where he used to teach. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.) from the Indiana University Bloomington, as well as an honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) from the Rutgers University.

Eco’s novels had commonalities in that they usually referenced other literary works, and that they usually incorporated mystery and conspiracy theories. His first foray into novel-writing, “The Name of the Rose,” reportedly drew upon his education in mediaeval literature.

His most famous novel, “Foucault’s Pendulum,” traces how three editors started their own conspiracy theory, only to start to believe their own yarn. Semiotics, being the study of meaning-making and communication, sees its influence throughout Eco’s work.

Eco, according to the Daily Mail, is considered as “one of the greatest writers in modern Italian literature.” With the complexity of his work, plus their propensity to get the reader to think, it isn’t hard to agree.

Eco passed away on the night of February 19 in his home. His passing concludes his battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Renate Ramge Eco, and their children, a son and a daughter.

Eco is one of two esteemed authors who have passed away on February 19, 2016. Harper Lee, author of the literature staple “To Kill A Mockingbird,” passed away on the morning of February 19.