Author Hilary Mantel, known for the Wolf Hall trilogy of historical novels, has died, the Associated Press reported on Friday. She was 70 years old.
Mantel died “suddenly yet peacefully” and was surrounded by her close family and friends in her last moments, publisher HarperCollins said.
The publisher described her one of the greatest English novelists of the 21st century. “Her beloved works are considered modern classics,” it said. “She will be greatly missed.”
Mantel won the Booker Prize for Wolf Hall in 2009 and its sequel Bring Up The Bodies in 2012. The final part of the trilogy, The Mirror and The Light, was published in 2020. The third book of the series was longlisted for the Booker Prize, according to the BBC.
The Wolf Hall trilogy was a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell, a key associate of England’s King Henry VIII.
The three books sold over 5 million copies across the world and were translated into 41 languages.
Several authors, publishers and political leaders expressed grief over Mantel’s death. Her longtime editor Nicholas Pearson said that her death was devastating.
“Only last month I sat with her on a sunny afternoon in Devon, while she talked excitedly about the new novel she had embarked on,” he said, according to AP. “That we won’t have the pleasure of any more of her words is unbearable. What we do have is a body of work that will be read for generations.”
Author JK Rowling said: “We’ve lost a genius.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy was the “crowning achievement” in an outstanding body of work.
“It is impossible to overstate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind,” she said.