Alexandru Tocilescu, a respected Romanian theater director equally at home with Shakespeare and his country's national playwright, died on Wednesday. He was 65.
Tocilescu died of a heart attack at Bucharest's Floreasca Hospital, doctors said. He had been dogged by ill health for decades, including kidney problems that required dialysis.
"He was someone who believed in theater as a daily vocation, as a privileged form of dialogue with life and the challenges of history," said President Traian Basescu in a condolence message to the director's family.
Art journalist Victoria Anghelescu said, "He was a flame that burned for the theater."
"His shows were staged with verve, humor and a director's skill which characterized the whole creation of this remarkably talented director," she said online.
In a career spanning almost 40 years, Tocilescu directed dozens of productions at the famed Bulandra theater in Bucharest, the Romanian Opera, and other theaters.
UNITER theater union awarded him three major prizes for his work.
In addition to works by Romanian playwright I. L. Caragiale, Tocilescu was known for his production of "Hamlet" in London and Dublin in 1990, a year after Romania's anti-communist revolution.
His last production was Samuel Beckett's "Endgame" in 2009.
He is survived by a son, writer Alex Tocilescu.
There was no immediate word about funeral arrangements.