Friedrich Duerrenmatt, the Swiss writer whose plays display a sardonic mix of realism and absurd visions, died Friday of heart failure. He was 69.

The author of "The Visit" and "The Physicists" died at his home in the lakeside town of Neuchatel in western Switzerland, the Diogenes Publishing House announced. It was three weeks before his 70th birthday.Duerrenmatt's collected works comprise more than 30 volumes and have been translated from the German into more than 50 languages. He is believed to have been the most widely played contemporary dramatist since Bertolt Brecht.