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Egyptian Actress Faten Hamama Dies at Age 83

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FILE - A handout photo showing Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, right, and her husband, Egyptian born actor Omar Sharif, in Cairo, Egypt.

FILE - A handout photo showing Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, right, and her husband, Egyptian born actor Omar Sharif, in Cairo, Egypt.

Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, an Arab film icon, died late Saturday at the age of 83, according to her son, Tarek Sharif, and Egypt’s official news agency, Mena.

Sharif did not give a cause of death, while the news agency MENA said she had a sudden health problem that led to her death, the French news agency AFP reported.

Mourners carry the coffin of Egyptian actress Faten Hamama for a funeral procession at a mosque outside Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 18, 2015.

Mourners carry the coffin of Egyptian actress Faten Hamama for a funeral procession at a mosque outside Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 18, 2015.

The actress’ death drew condolences even from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. In a statement, Egypt's presidency said the whole region had lost a valuable artistic asset.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Cairo on Sunday for Hamama’s funeral.

One fan who attended the funeral called Hamama a role model.

“We're here to say goodbye to Faten Hamama, because she's a symbol who delivered a message of classiness. She was a classy actress in her performance and we wish that she was the role model for all actresses,” Azza Ibrahim told Reuters.

Hamama, who started her career at the age of 7, appeared in nearly 100 films. Her career peaked in Egyptian cinema in the 1940s and 1950s.

She was married to Egyptian actor Omar Sharif for nearly 20 years, before they divorced in 1974.

Hamama and Sharif appeared together in several movies but are best known for their 1961 movie River of Love, which is based on Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

She starred in romantic movies alongside the famed Arab crooner Abdel Halim Hafez as well as in films advocating women's rights and condemning social injustices, AFP reported.

Many of the movies she appeared in are considered classics in Egyptian cinema.

Material for this report came from Reuters, AFP and AP.

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