Carlos Ruiz Zafón dies, aged 55

Carlos Ruiz Zafón dies, aged 55

Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón, whose novels include bestseller The Shadow of the Wind, has died at the age of 55.

According to his publisher Planeta, he died on Friday (19th June), at his home in Los Angeles. Spanish media reported he died from cancer after being diagnosed more than two years ago.

Jenny Lord, publisher at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, said: "We are deeply saddened to hear of Carlos’ passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his family. Weidenfeld & Nicolson are intensely proud to publish such a masterful writer, whose stories brought joy to millions of readers and will continue to inspire and delight future generations."

Doubleday publishing director Kirsty Dunseath, who previously published Zafon at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, said he would be greatly missed. "Carlos changed the whole landscape of Spanish literature, and beyond," she said. "When The Shadow of the Wind was published, one reviewer called it 'an instant classic' and that is what his books have become – classics that will stand the test of time, and delight readers for many years to come. He was funny, clever, brilliantly inventive and evangelical in his love of books and writers. I will miss him enormously."

Gothic mystery The Shadow of the Wind, his bestseller at 1.1 million copies sold through Nielsen BookScan in the UK, was the first instalment of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series of books that spans more than a decade. It began in 2001 (in 2004 in the UK) with The Shadow of the Wind and continued with The Angel's Game and The Prisoner of Heaven, concluding with The Labyrinth of the Spirits in November 2016 (2018 in the UK).

The author of eight novels, all together selling 1.9 million books for £13.8m through BookScan, his books are published in 45 countries and translated into more than 40 different languages, making him the most-read Spanish novelist in the world after Cervantes.