RIGA - The immensely popular Latvian poet and writer Imants Ziedonis died Wednesday evening at the age of 79, LETA learned from the Culture Ministry.
According to LETA archives, Ziedonis was born in a fisherman's family in Riga District's Sloka County on May 3, 1933.
The poet graduated from University of Latvia's History and Philology School in 1959 and the Higher Literary Courses in Moscow in 1964.
Ziedonis first began to work as a road construction worker, later as a teacher in Olaine, Kemeri and Jurmala.
Ziedonis' first collection of poetry was published in 1961. He became a member of Latvian Writers' Union and worked as a librarian in Kemeri, editor at the "Liesma" publishing house, board secretary at the Latvian Writers' Union.
Ziedonis received several Soviet Union awards in the 1970s and 1980s, in 1990 he was elected to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia. He was one of the Supreme Council members who voted for the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of Latvia.
Ziedonis was awarded the Three Star Order in 1995 and the Cabinet of Ministers' Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002. Ziedonis also received several international literary prizes and awards.
Ziedonis is an author of about twenty poetry collections, several collections of fairy-tales and other writings.