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ROME — The artist who sculpted Charging Bull, the statue in New York which became an iconic symbol of Wall Street, has died in his hometown in Sicily at age 80.

Arturo Di Modica died at his home in Vittoria on Friday evening, the town said in a statement on Saturday. Di Modica had been ill for some time, it said.

The sculptor lived in New York for more than 40 years in New York. He arrived in 1973 and opened an art studio in the city's SoHo neighborhood. With the help of a truck and crane, Di Modica installed the bronze bull sculpture in New York's financial district without permission on the night of Dec. 16, 1989.

The artist reportedly spent $350,000 of his own money to create the 3.5-ton bronze beast that came to symbolize the resilience of the U.S. economy.

"The New York Stock Exchange lost in one night more than 20%, and so many people were plunged into the blackest of depressions," Rome daily La Repubblica quoted Di Modica as saying in an interview earlier this month.

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