Zambian-born South African novelist Wilbur Smith has died at his home in Cape Town at the age of 88, his office announced.
According to a statement released on the Wilbur Smith Official Twitter account, he passed away on Saturday afternoon with his wife, Niso, by his side.
“We are sorry to announce that the beloved, global bestselling author Wilbur Smith passed away unexpectedly this afternoon at his Cape Town home, with his wife Niso by his side,” read the statement posted on the author’s official Twitter account
Similar statements were shared on the Wilbur Smith Books website, social media pages, the website of The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation as well as by his publishers Bonnier Books UK.
The statements did not reveal the cause of death
The author had 49 published books and sold more than 140 million copies worldwide in more than thirty languages.
“We are so grateful to his millions of fans across the world who cherished his incredible writing and joined us all on his amazing adventures,” Smith’s office said in a tweet.
We are sorry to announce that the beloved, global bestselling author Wilbur Smith passed away unexpectedly this afternoon at his Cape Town home, with his wife Niso by his side. https://t.co/vHT7uIiwu1 pic.twitter.com/fh91Z11G86
— Wilbur Smith (@thewilbursmith) November 13, 2021
The International best-selling author gained widespread recognition in 1964 following the publication of his debut novel “When the Lion Feeds”.
The book which tells a tale of a young man growing up on a South African cattle ranch, in the shadow of the Zulu Wars and the gold rush became an instant bestseller and led to 15 sequels, tracing an ambitious family’s fortunes for more than 200 years.
“I wove into the story chunks of early African history. I wrote about Black people and white. I wrote about hunting and gold mining and carousing and women,” the novelist shared in a biography on his website.
Smith was born in today’s Zambia in January 1933 to a British family. He grew up experiencing the forest, hills, and savannah of Africa on his parents’ ranch.
He detailed more of his own life in his memoir On Leopard Rock, his first long non-fiction work released in 2018.
Several of his books, including When the Lion Feeds, Gold Mine and Shout At The Devil, were turned into films or TV series.
Other bestsellers by the author include The River God and The Triumph of the Sun.