Tributes have been paid to bestselling novelist Clive Cussler who has died, aged 88.
The US author of the popular Dirk Pitt novels passed away on Monday, his wife Janet said in a statement.
Writing on Twitter, she said: "It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news that my husband Clive passed away Mon. It has been a privilege to share in his life. I want to thank you his fans & friends for all the support. He was the kindest most gentle man I ever met. I know, his adventures will continue."
The cause of his death has not been announced.
Cussler wrote 25 books in the Dirk Pitt adventure series, including Raise the Titanic. The 1992 thriller Sahara was adapted in a 2005 film starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz. In the UK through the TCM he sold 7.4 million books for £48.5m, with Black Wind is his bestseller, with 229,671 copies sold in paperback (written with his son Dirk Cussler).
Rowland White, publishing director at Cussler's publisher Michael Joseph, said: "Clive Cussler was billed as the Grandmaster of Adventure and for once this didn’t just seem like publishing hype. He’d earned it. As well as thrilling fans for nearly 50 years, Clive’s own life bore comparison with that of his much-loved hero Dirk Pitt. Like Pitt, Clive was a much respected real-life treasure hunter, explorer, discoverer of lost ships, and collector of classic cars.
"His first thriller featuring hero Dirk Pitt was published in 1972. The most recent, Celtic Empire, was a number one bestseller just last year. Such a lengthy, unbroken run at thriller writing’s top table is unprecedented, and testament to the high standards Clive always demanded of himself.
"His last visit to London at the end of 2018 seemed to capture it all perfectly. He flew to the UK with his wife Janet – and a vintage car! – to compete in the annual London to Brighton rally. While not competing, he was hard at work on the latest draft of Celtic Empire in his hotel room, taking time out only to join us for a dinner at which he was the life and soul.
"Although we published Clive for over twenty years, Michael Joseph were relatively late to the Clive Cussler party. But when Clive put his faith in us in back in 1999 it helped signal the imprint’s commercial revival. He’s been family ever since. Like his legions of readers, we will miss him and the wonderful entertainment he provided. It was always a source of great pride and pleasure to be able to tell people: ‘We publish Clive Cussler’.
"Our thoughts are with his wife Janet, his son and co-author Dirk, and his family."