By Faruk Zorlu
Prominent author Chinghiz Aitmatov is regarded as the voice of Kyrgyz people during Soviet Union.
He was born on Dec. 12, 1928 in the village of Sheker near the Chinese border in Kyrgyzstan.
He is seen as an important figure in shaping Kyrgyz national identity as he depicted the country's customs and nomadic life in his literary work.
The Kyrgyz people say of the two heroes who represent their nation: one is of the epic poem "Manas" and the other is Aitmatov.
In 1959, Aitmatov joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
He later became a friend and an adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev, president of the Soviet Union until 1991.
On his death, Gorbachev said: "A person who has passed away was close to us all."
After the independence of Kyrgyzstan, Aitmatov served as Kyrgyzstan's ambassador to several European countries and representative in the EU, NATO and UNESCO between 1994 and 2006.
His father was arrested in 1937 and executed on a charge of bourgeois nationalism by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin when Aitmatov was just 9 years old.
Aitmatov married Maria Urmatova and had three sons and daughter with her. He died in Nuremberg, Germany on June 10, 2008.
The author penned down Kyrgyz folklore in the context of socialist realism.
He first wrote his prose and plays in his native Kyrgyz language and gradually started writing in Russian in the mid-1960s.
He graduated from Moscow's Gorky Institute in 1958 and published his internationally-acclaimed novel Jamila the same year.
His work was later translated into French by poet Louis Aragon who called it "the most beautiful love story in the world".
His novels have been translated to 150 languages.
In 1963, he received the Lenin Prize for Jamila and in 1968 a state prize for his novel 'Farewell, Gulsary!'.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Aitmatov's works became more popular in the West.
Some his works were adapted into popular movies.
His short story "The Red Scarf" was adapted into a 1978 film in Turkey "The Girl with Red Scarf (Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım)".
His major works are: "Jamila" (1958), "The First Teacher" (1962), "Farewell, Gyulsary!" (1966), "The White Ship" (1970), "The Red Scarf" (1970), "The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years" (1980) and "The Scaffold" (1988).