Iain Banks, the award-winning writer, has died aged 59, just two months after announcing he had terminal cancer, his family are reported to have said.
The Scottish author of The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Complicity, had revealed in April he was suffering from terminal gall bladder cancer and was unlikely to live for more than a year.
In a statement on the BBC News Web site, his publisher said he was “an irreplaceable part of the literary world.”
Little, Brown Book Group said the author was “one of the country’s best-loved novelists” for both his mainstream and science fiction books.
“Iain Banks’ ability to combine the most fertile of imaginations with his own highly distinctive brand of gothic humor made him unique,” the publisher was reported saying.
After announcing his illness in April, Banks asked his publishers to bring forward the release date of his latest novel, The Quarry, so he could see it on the shelves.
“Just three weeks ago he was presented with finished copies and enjoyed celebration parties with old friends and fans across the publishing world,” the statement said.
The Wasp Factory, Banks’ first novel, was published in 1984 and was ranked as one of the best 100 books of the 20th Century in a 1997 poll conducted by book chain Waterstones and Channel 4.
The writer also wrote science fiction titles under the name Iain M Banks.
Banks announced his illness on his Web site on 3 April, writing “I am officially Very Poorly.”
With trademark black humor, he said he had asked his partner Adele “if she will do me the honor of becoming my widow.”
He said that his latest novel, The Quarry, would be his last.
A Web site set up for friends, family and fans to leave messages for him was inundated with tributes to the writer.