Best-selling Author Wilbur Smith Dies at Age 88

International best-selling author Wilbur Smith died at his home in Cape Town on Nov. 13 at the age of 88, according to a statement from his official website.

The statement did not mention the cause of Smith’s death.

“It is with deep sadness that we mourn the death of our beloved author Wilbur Smith whose seemingly inexhaustible creative energy and passion for storytelling will long live on in the hearts and minds of readers everywhere,” Kate Parkin, Managing Director of Adult Trade Publishing for Bonnier Books UK, said in the statement.

Described as “the undisputed and inimitable master of adventure writing” by his website, Smith has published 49 novels, which has sold for over 140 million copies worldwide.

Smith’s first novel, “When the Lion Feeds,” instantly became a bestseller when it was published in 1964.

Smith’s Courtney Series, whose main character was inspired from when he contracted polio at the age of 16, is the longest running in publishing history.

Born on Jan. 9, 1933 in Zambia, Smith was the son of a sheet-metal worker Herbert and his “more artistically inclined” mother Elfreda.

Aside from being an acclaimed novelist, Smith was also a big game hunter, an expert scuba diver, and a licensed pilot.

“His own life, detailed in his autobiography, ‘On Leopard Rock,’ was as stirring and incident packed as any of his novels,” the website said.

“Wilbur Smith was an icon, larger than life, beloved by his fans… His knowledge of Africa, and his imagination knew no limitations. His work ethic and his powerful, elegant writing style made him known to millions,” Kevin Conroy Scott, who was Smith’s literary agent for the last 11 years, said.


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