Famous writer Iain Banks dies of cancer aged 59

Author Iain Banks has died aged 59, two months after announcing he had terminal cancer, his family has said.

Banks, who was born in Dunfermline, Fife, revealed in April he had gall bladder cancer and was unlikely to live for more than a year.

He was best known for his novels The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Complicity.

In a statement, his publisher said he was “an irreplaceable part of the literary world”.

A message posted on Banksophilia, a website set up to provide fans with updates on the author, quoted his wife Adele saying: “Iain died in the early hours this morning. His death was calm and without pain.”

Publisher Little, Brown Book Group said the author was “one of the country’s best-loved novelists” for both his mainstream and science fiction books.

“Iain Banks’ ability to combine the most fertile of imaginations with his own highly distinctive brand of gothic humour made him unique,” it said.

After announcing his illness in April, Banks asked his publishers to bring forward the release date of his latest novel, The Quarry, so he could see it on the shelves.

On Sunday, it was revealed the book – to be released on 20 June – would detail the physical and emotional strain of cancer.

Banks wrote sci-fi titles under the name Iain M Banks
It describes the final weeks of the life of a man in his 40s who has terminal cancer.

Speaking to the BBC’s Kirsty Wark, Banks said he was some 87,000 words into writing the book when he was diagnosed with his own illness.

“I had no inkling. So it wasn’t as though this is a response to the disease or anything, the book had been kind of ready to go,” he said.

“And then 10,000 words from the end, as it turned out, I suddenly discovered that I had cancer.”

‘Craft and skill’

Little, Brown said the author was presented with finished copies of his last novel three weeks ago.

Banks’ first novel, The Wasp Factory, was published in 1984 and was ranked as one of the best 100 books of the 20th Century in a 1997 poll conducted by book chain Waterstones and Channel 4.

In 2008 he was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by The Times.

The writer also penned sci-fi titles under the name Iain M Banks. His most recent book, The Hydrogen Sonata, was released last year.