'Wasp Factory' author Iain Banks dies of cancer at 59
Author Iain Banks has died following a battle with gall bladder cancer. He was 59.
The 'Wasp Factory' writer, from Fife, Scotland, announced in April that he had been diagnosed with the disease and had just months to live.
His publisher was quoted as saying he was "an irreplaceable part of the literary world".
Following his diagnosis, Banks withdrew from all planned public engagements and married his long-term partner Adele. He announced on April 3 that his latest novel, 'The Quarry', would be his last.
A website set up for friends, family and fans to leave messages for him was inundated with tributes to the writer, who also published under the name Iain M Banks for his science fiction titles.
Fellow sci-fi author Ken McLeod paid tribute to him, telling the BBC news channel: "I think he has left us a very significant body of work, both in mainstream literature and science fiction, and he's also left a large gap in the Scottish literary scene as well as the wider English-speaking world."
Banks's first novel, 'The Wasp Factory', was published in 1984, and his debut sci-fi title, 'Consider Phlebas', came three years later.
His novel, 'The Crow Road', which opens with the memorable line "It was the day my grandmother exploded", was adapted for a popular television series in 1996.
In 2008, Banks was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by 'The Times'.
The announcement of his illness was laced with typical dark humour, with the author stating he was "officially Very Poorly" and that he had asked Adele to do him the honour of "becoming my widow".
In a post on the website Banksophilia: Friends of Iain Banks on May 20, he thanked everyone for their messages.
"It means a lot," he wrote, "almost more than I can say, and – whatever type or size of screen I read the comments on – I come away from the computer, laptop, iPad or phone with a happy smile on my face."
Bestselling novelist Val McDermid said following the announcement of his illness: "One of the features of Iain's writing is that in the darkest moments he manages to find humanity and humour.
"I bought a paperback of 'The Wasp Factory' when it came out, and I remember being blown away by it because I had never read anything like it."
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said on Twitter yesterday: "Saddened to hear that Iain Banks has passed away. One of Scotland's literary greats who always approached life with extraordinary vitality."