Marco Pannella, the maverick radical politician who was crucial to Italian postwar campaigns to legalize abortion and other social change, has died. He was 86.

Radio Radicale, the radio station of Pannella's political party, announced the death on Thursday. Pannella, who was known for his frequent hunger strikes, anti-church positions and sit-ins, had been hospitalized at a Rome clinic in recent days.

Premier Matteo Renzi eulogized the grizzled veteran politician as a "lion of freedom."