JERUSALEM (AP) _ Yehiel Shemi, an Israeli sculptor renowned for his abstract works in metal, has died. He was 81.

Shemi was born in the Israeli port city of Haifa in 1922. He made his first sculptures in wood and stone while working as a construction worker at Kibbutz Beit Haarava, a collective farm he joined in 1939.

In 1949, he helped found Cabri, located in the western Galilee region, where he continued to work and live, apart from periods spent in France, Italy and New York.

According to the Grove Dictionary of Art Online, Shemi began using mass-produced materials such as iron and scrap metal in the 1950s.

He soon began receiving commissions for major monumental sculptures in metal, including works at the Jerusalem Theater and the city's International Conference Center.

Israel radio said Shemi died overnight Friday. It could not immediately be determined whether he died late Friday or early Saturday.

Shemi was scheduled to be buried Sunday at Cabri, Israeli television said.