U.S. folk singer and songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.
The 75-year-old won the prize "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," the Swedish Academy said.
The surprise announcement marks the first time the award has gone to someone who is mainly seen as a musician.
"For 54 years he has been at it, reinventing himself," said Sara Danius, the academy's permanent secretary.
She said Blonde on Blonde is “an extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming, putting together refrains, and his brilliant way of thinking.”
“Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear. But it’s perfectly fine to read his works as poetry,” she said.
Minnesota-born Dylan is the first American to win the prize since Toni Morrison in 1992.
Earlier Thursday, the Italian news agency ANSA reported that playwright and actor Dario Fo, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1997, died in a hospital in Milan at the age of 90.
Famous for his biting political satire, the writer of Accidental Death of an Anarchist performed the one-man play Mistero Buffo around the world for 30 years.
"His satire, his research, his work on set design, his multi-faceted artistic activity remain the legacy of a great Italian in the world,” said Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
The award is worth about $930,000.
The Nobel prizes in economics medicine, physics, chemistry and the Nobel Peace Prize have all been announced. The winners will collect them at a ceremony on Dec. 10.
Photos: Bob Dylan through the years