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Chart-topping author Wilbur Smith dead at 88

Wilbur Smith, shown here 2013, autographs one of the 140 million books he sold.

Wilbur Smith, shown here 2013, autographs one of the 140 million books he sold. Photo: Getty

Best-selling author Wilbur Smith has died “unexpectedly” aged 88, his publisher has announced.

“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,” said a message posted on the author’s official Twitter account on Saturday night.

Similar statements were published on the Wilbur Smith Books website and social media pages as well as on the website of The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation.

South African Smith, who was born in today’s Zambia, published his first novel, When The Lion Feeds, in 1964.

Over the course of his career he published 49 novels and sold more than 140 million copies worldwide in more than thirty languages, according to a statement published on the Wilbur Smith Books website.

“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,” Wilbur Smith’s office said in a tweet.

-AAP

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