Alberto Testa, who wrote the lyrics to some of the most popular Italian songs of the modern era, died in Rome on Monday (Oct. 19) at the age of 82.

He co-wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, including "Quando Quando Quando," which was an international mega hit for co-author Toni Renis in 1962, and "Grande Grande Grande" (another Renis-Testa composition), which was a hit for Mina in 1971.

Alberto Testa was born to Italian parents in Brazil in 1927, but the family moved back to Italy when he was a child. He served in the Italian armed forces during the war and was taken prisoner, spending time in a P.O.W. camp in the United States. He returned to Italy at the end of the war and had a brief career as a singer, before switching to writing.

He began penning hits in the 1950s and never really stopped: in the 1990s he co-wrote (with Toni Renis) "Se La Gente Usasse Il Cuore" ("If People Used Their Hearts") for Andrea Bocelli, as well the Italian version of "The Prayer," which was a duet for Bocelli with Celine Dion. According to a statement issued by his son, Carlo, Alberto Testa was correcting the lyrics to some new songs in his hospital bed, shortly before his death.

In addition to being an international hit for Toni Renis, "Quando Quando Quando" was covered by numerous artists, including Pat Boone, Engelbert Humperdinck and, most recently, as a duet by Nelly Furtado and Michael Bublé. "Grande Grande Grande" was covered by Shirley Bassey: her English version, "Never, Never, Never," was a U.K. hit in 1973. It was also covered by Luciano Pavarotti, Celine Dion and Julio Iglesias.

Albert Testa's funeral service is due be held in Rome on Thursday morning (Oct. 22) at the "church of the artists," Santa Maria in Montesanto, in Piazza del Popolo.