Bestselling novelist James Herbert has died.
Herbert, described by his editor Jeremy Trevathan as "one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century", passed away this morning at home in Sussex at the age of 69.
The horror writer, awarded the OBE in 2010, wrote 23 novels and was published in 34 languages, selling more than 54 million copies worldwide, his publisher Pan Macmillan said. The new paperback edition of his 23rd novel, Ash, was published last week and currently sits at number seven in the Nielsen Bookscan mass-market fiction chart.
Trevathan, Macmillan publisher and Herbert's editor for 10 years, said: "Jim Herbert was one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. It's a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death. He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime. His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century."
Herbert's other works included The Rats trilogy as well as later bestsellers such as Portent, Nobody True and The Secret of Crickley Hall.
The Rats, his first published work in 1974, was filmed, as were The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted. The Secret of Crickley Hall was aired as a three-part serial on BBC1 last December.
In 2010 he was also made the Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention.
He is survived by his wife Eileen, whom he married in 1967, and their three daughters, Kerry, Emma and Casey.
Photo credit: Julie Dennison