Brazilian sculptor Francisco Brennand dies age 92

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In this file photo taken on March 29, 2008 Brazilian artist Francisco Brennand poses next to his sculptures in his "Office" in Recife, northeast Brazil

Francisco Brennand, a Brazilian sculptor best known for his monumental work in ceramics, died Thursday in his native Recife at age 92, hospital officials said.

His death was attributed to respiratory problems.

Born in 1927, Brennand was considered one of the greatest Brazilian sculptors and ceramicists of his generation, with works on exhibit in Europe and the United States.

He plunged into the world of ceramics on a trip to France, inspired by the works of Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Paul Gauguin and the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.

In 1971, he set up a workshop in the ruins of a ceramics factory that belonged to his father, where he gave free rein to his art.

Today, it is a sprawling showcase of his work with more than 2,000 pieces on display.

His most emblematic work is the Parque das Esculturas (Sculptures Park) in Recife, where visitors can admire more than 90 monumental sculptures facing the city's port.

The governor of Pernambuco state, whose capital is Recife, decreed three days of mourning, while the city's mayor lamented Brennand's death as an "irreparable loss."