Wolf Hall writer Dame Hilary Mantel has died “suddenly yet peacefully” surrounded by close family and friends, HarperCollins has announced.
Her publisher released a statement that read: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald.
“This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said news of her passing was “terribly sad”.
“It is impossible to overstate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind,” she said.
“Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the crowning achievement in an outstanding body of work. Rest in peace.
The 70-year-old writer won the Booker Prize twice, first for her 2009 novel Wolf Hall and again in 2012 for Bring Up The Bodies.
Bill Hamilton, Dame Hilary’s agent at literary agency A.M. Heath, said it had been the “greatest privilege” to work with her.
He said: “Her wit, stylistic daring, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight mark her out as one of the greatest novelists of our time.
“She will be remembered for her enormous generosity to other budding writers, her capacity to electrify a live audience, and the huge array of her journalism and criticism, producing some of the finest commentary on issues and books.
“Emails from Hilary were sprinkled with bon mots and jokes as she observed the world with relish and pounced on the lazy or absurd and nailed cruelty and prejudice.
“There was always a slight aura of otherworldliness about her, as she saw and felt things us ordinary mortals missed, but when she perceived the need for confrontation she would fearlessly go into battle.
“And all of that against the backdrop of chronic health problems, which she dealt with so stoically. We will miss her immeasurably, but as a shining light for writers and readers she leaves an extraordinary legacy. Our thoughts go out to her beloved husband Gerald, family and friends.”