Reputed Romanian writer journalist Octavian Paler, 80, died of heart attack on Monday, according to TV news station Antena 3.

Both as a top journalist and commentator and as a novel and essay writer, Paler was a major defender of moderate nationalistic values and was generally viewed as a prominent representative of Romanian contemporary culture despite a series of controversial views on domestic politics.

Octavian Paler was born July 2, 1926 in the village of Lisa, Brasov county. He attended high school in Bucharest and then the Literature and Philosophy Faculty and the Law Faculty in Bucharest, simultaneously.

In 1974-1979 he served in the top board of the Romanian Communist Party after having served as deputy head of the Romanian Radio and Television Committee in the sixties. In 1976, still under the communist regime, he was head of the Council of Journalists. And in 1970-1983 he also served as editor-in-chief of the Romania Libera newspaper in Bucharest.

Among his best known books are Umbra cuvintelor (Shadow of Words), Viata pe un peron (Life on a Train Station Platform), Scrisori imaginare (Imaginary Letters), Rugati-va sa nu va creasca aripi (Pray not to have wings), Don Quijote in est (Don Quijote in the East), Polemici cordiale (Friendly polemics).

For the past several years, he collaborated constantly with the Antena 3 TV station and published comments in the Cotidianul newspaper.