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Elie Wiesel – Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner – dies at 87

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Elie Wiesel, one of the most famous survivors of the Holocaust, died Saturday at his home in New York City.

Wiesel died "peacefully" after a long illness, according to a statement from the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He was 87.

The New York Times says Wiesel, more than anyone else, "seared the memory of the Holocaust on the world's conscience."

He wrote dozens of books, and in 1986 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out about the Holocaust, as well as fighting indifference.

In his first book – "Night," published in 1958 – he described his family being sent to Auschwitz when he was 15, CNN reports.

His mother and younger sister died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz. Wiesel and his father were eventually transported to Buchenwald – his father died shortly before the camp was liberated in April 1945, his foundation says.

"My husband was a fighter. He fought for the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, and he fought for Israel," Marion Wiesel, his wife, said in a statement. "He waged countless battles for innocent victims regardless of ethnicity or creed. But what was most meaningful to him was teaching the innumerable students who attended his university classes. We are deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support we have already seen in the wake of his passing."

Wiesel won several other awards for his literary works and human rights activities, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Congressional Golf Medal, the National Humanities Medal and the Medal of Liberty, his foundation says.

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