BEIRUT (AFP) - Grand Ayato-llah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a former spiritual mentor of the Shiite group Hezbollah and branded a terrorist by Washington, died on Sunday aged 75, officials said. A top authority of Shiaism in Lebanon and the region, especially Iraq where he was born, Fadlallah held the title of sayyed to denote direct lineage with the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and was known for his moderate social views. A fiery anti-US and anti-Israeli critic, he died in a Beirut hospital where he was admitted on Friday for internal bleeding. Sayyed Fadlallah has died this morning, senior aide Ayatollah Abdullah al-Ghurayfi told a news conference, flanked by the late clerics son, Sayyed Ali Fadlallah, who could not hold back his tears. The father, the leader, the marjaa (religious authority), the guide, the human being is gone, Ghurayfi said. Fadlallah had been hospitalised several times over the past months. On Friday, he was admitted to intensive care as his health deteriorated. Hezbollahs Manar television interrupted its regular broadcasts to announce his death, posting a picture of the black-turbanned Fadlallah, airing Quranic verses and calling for three days of national mourning. Lebanon, the Muslim nation and the world have lost a great Muslim scholar, Hezbollah said, adding Fadlallah was one of the most prominent supporters of Muslim unity who fought against (religious) strife. Ghurayfi, a Bahraini follower of Fadlallah, described the Shia cleric as the brains behind the launch of the resistance, a reference to Hezbollahs campaign against arch-foe Israel. Details of the funeral have yet to be announced. News of his death prompted hundreds of followers to rush to the Hassanein mosque where family and associates were receiving condolences in a sombre mood as officials eulogised Fadlallah. Prime Minister Saad Hariri mourned the grand ayatollah in a statement: Lebanon has lost a great national and spiritual authority. Health Minister Mohammed Khalifeh said: Sayyed Fadlallah represented independence and progress and was a partisan of science and development, while still respecting the fundamentals of religion. Revered by Shia faithful in Lebanon and across the region, Fadlallah was born in 1935 in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf, where his parents emigrated from Lebanon to study theology. He rose in the ranks of Lebanons Shia community decades ago and was considered the spiritual guide of group Hezbollah when it was founded in 1982 with the support of Irans elite Revolutionary Guard. Fadlallah gained political leverage during Lebanons 1975-1990 civil war, but his ties to Hezbollah strained as the war progressed and he distanced himself from the partys ideological ties to Iran. He nonetheless remained an advocate of suicide attacks as a means of fighting Israel, last year issuing a fatwa, forbidding the normalisation of ties with the Jewish state. Along with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Fadlallah is blacklisted as a terrorist by the United States. In the 1980s, at the height of the Lebanese civil war, the US media alleged Fadlallah was behind the taking of American hostages by Iranian-backed radical groups. Other reports named him as a mediator in the crisis, but his real role remained elusive. Fadlallah frequently blasted US policies in the Middle East, namely the US-led invasion of Iraq and Washingtons ties with Israel. He held particular sway with the Dawa Party of incumbent Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, which he helped to found in 1957. The party regarded Fadlallah as its spiritual guide. His followers revered him for his moderate social views, openness and pragmatism. Fadlallah issued religious edicts forbidding female circumcision and saying women could hit abusive husbands.