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Egypt’s revolutionary poet Negm dies at 84

Negm became recognised as a voice of protest in 1967 when he wrote poems on the Arab-Israel war

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Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, renowned for his revolutionary poetry and for his harsh criticism of political leaders, died on Tuesday at the age of 84, a publisher said.

“Ahmed Fouad Negm passed away. He was 84,” Mohammed Hashem told AFP.

Negm spent a total of 18 years in jail for his strident criticism of former Egyptian presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak.

He became recognised as a voice of protest in 1967 when he wrote poems on the Arab-Israel war, which were highly acclaimed.

During the 2011 anti-Mubarak revolt, protesters often recited his revolutionary poems at Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square -- epicenter of the 18-day uprising against the former strongman.

Negm was also well known for his decades-long association with Egyptian composer Sheikh Imam, and was widely regarded as a folk hero.

Son of a police officer and a housewife, Negm was born in 1929 in the Egyptian city of Sharqia and was one among 17 brothers.