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HomeBreaking newsRenowned novelist Wilbur Smith dies aged 88

Renowned novelist Wilbur Smith dies aged 88

Johannesburg: Internationally noted novelist Wilbur Smith died at his home in South Africa on Saturday. He has ended a decades-long career in writing at the age of 88.

Wilbur Smith, the world’s best-selling author, died unexpectedly at his Cape Town home this afternoon after reading and writing with his wife.

Smith’s adventure narratives took readers from tropical lands to the wildernesses of Africa and even Ancient Egypt.

“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,” stated a statement issued on the Wilbur Smith Books website.

“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.”

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His first novel, 1964, “When the Lion Feeds,” is the tale of a young man who grew up on a South African cattle farm, became a best-seller. 

He was born in Zambia in 1933 to a British family. He was also a great game hunter, growing up on his parents’ farm and enduring Africa’s forests, mountains, including savannas.

Smith additionally held a pilot’s license and was a scuba diver. As a conservationist, he maintained his game assets and had a tropical island in Seychelles.

His novels have been translated into nearly 30 languages. The books were also made into films.

According to Bonnier Box managing director Kate Parkin, Smith has “left behind a treasure trove of novels,” including unpublished co-authored books.



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