Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, whose writings and lectures are considered instrumental in bringing the horrors of the Holocaust into Western discourse, died on Saturday. He was 87.

Born in Romania, Wiesel moved to Paris and became a journalist after being rescued from World War II concentration camp Auschwitz. He eventually started writing about his experiences of the war – an English translation of his first book, titled Night, has sold millions of copies worldwide. He wrote more than 50 books, mainly non-fiction about the Holocaust, in his lifetime. He also worked as a humanities lecturer and activist.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. According to The New York Times, his Nobel citation said, “Wiesel is a messenger to mankind. His message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief.”

The World Jewish Congress condoled his death as “undoubtedly one of the great Jewish teachers and thinkers of the past 100 years.” He is survived by his wife Marion, who also escaped the holocaust, and their son, Elisha.