Kenzaburo Oe, regarded as one of Japan’s leading contemporary novelists and the second Japanese person to win the Nobel Prize in literature, died on March 3, his publisher, Kodansha, announced in a statement Monday. He was 88.

A private funeral was held for his family, and a separate farewell ceremony is planned for later on.

He won the Nobel Prize in 1994 as he was working on the "A Flaming Green Tree" trilogy. The prize was awarded for works including the novel "A Personal Matter" — which was dedicated to his son, the composer Hikari Oe — solidifying his place in contemporary literature.