31 December 2012, Rome - The death of Italian scientist and physician Rita Levi Montalcini, 103, has claimed a tireless advocate for a hunger-free world, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said today.
Montalcini, an FAO goodwill ambassador since 1999, died on 30 December in Rome.
"Professor Montalcini was recognized internationally as one of the world's finest minds. At FAO, we knew her as a wise and gracious friend, a tireless advocate for a hunger-free world," said Graziano da Silva.
"FAO will always be grateful to her for helping to keep the drive to end hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty high on the international agenda," he added.
Montalcini, a physician and neurobiologist, won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1986 and was named Senator for Life by the Republic of Italy. As a goodwill ambassador, she wrote articles and editorials on the plight of the hungry, and regularly attended and spoke at high-level FAO events.
In recent years, Montalcini urged young people to become more involved in eliminating hunger, which she called a "tragic reality."