Egypt's state-run Middle East News Agency says Ali Salem, a famed satirical writer whose works include one of the Arab world's most popular comedic plays, has died in his home in Cairo of natural causes. He was 79.

Salem's writings include 15 books and 25 plays. His most famous work was "School of the Troublemakers," a 1971 comedic play about a class of riotous teenagers reformed by a female teacher.

Salem courted controversy by visiting Israel in 1994. Afterward she was largely shunned in Egypt and he wrote a book about the visit in the same year.

In later years Salem became a public critic of former President Hosni Mubarak. Salem spoke in support of the protest movements against Mubarak years before the 2011 uprising that ended Mubarak's 29-year rule.