Italian songwriter Francesco De Gregori said on Thursday that he welcomed with "joy" the assignment of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature to American folk singer Bob Dylan. "It is something that fills me up with joy, I'd like to say that it is never too late", De Gregori said in a statement. "The Nobel Prize to Dylan is not only an award given to the greatest songwriter of all times, but also the final recognition that songs have fully become part of today's literature and are able to describe, as well as writing, cinema and theatre, the people's worlds and stories", he added. "Bob Dylan embodies the essence of all this. Nobody has ever been able to put into music and words the epic of existence, its contradictions, its beauty, like he did", the Italian songwriter finally said. De Gregori was described by Dylan as a "folk Italian hero" and in 2015 he translated into Italian some of Dylan's songs and put them together in the album 'Amore e Furto - De Gregori canta Bob Dylan' ('Love and Theft - De Gregori sings Bob Dylan').