Home Lifestyle Iconic author Wilbur Smith, 88, dies

Iconic author Wilbur Smith, 88, dies

Author Wilbur Smith

ICONIC South African author Wilbur Smith, 88, died at his home in Cape Town on Saturday after a decades-long career in writing, his office said.

With 49 titles under his belt, the world-renowned Smith became a household name, his adventure stories taking readers from tropical islands to the jungles of Africa, Ancient Egypt and World War II.

“Global bestselling author Wilbur Smith died unexpectedly this afternoon at his Cape Town home after a morning of reading and writing with his wife Niso by his side,” said a statement released on the Wilbur Smith Books website and by his publishers Bonnier Books UK.

Wilbur and Niso Smith.File picture: Supplied

“The undisputed and inimitable master of adventure writing, Wilbur Smith’s novels have gripped readers for over half a century, selling over 140 million copies worldwide in more than thirty languages.”

The statements did not reveal the cause of death, reported AFP.

His 1964 debut novel When the Lion Feeds, the tale of a young man growing up on a South African farm, became an instant bestseller and led to 15 sequels, tracing an ambitious family’s fortunes for more than 200 years.

Born in Zambia in 1933, Smith was a big game hunter and conservationist, and managed his own game reserve.

He was married four times and even owned a tropical island in the Seychelles.

His bestselling Courtney Series was the longest running in publishing history, spanning three centuries, but it was with Taita, the hero of his Egyptian Series, that Wilbur “most strongly identified, and River God remains one of his best-loved novels”, his publisher said.

In his 2018 memoir On Leopard Rock, Smith wrote: “I want to be remembered as somebody who gave pleasure to millions.”


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