IAIN Banks has died of cancer aged 59, his family said today.
The Scottish author had announced that he was suffering with terminal gall bladder cancer on April 3 this year.
In his statement he said that he had developed a sore back in late January, but put this down to being "crouched over a keyboard all day". Blood tests in March revealed that he was terminally ill, and was not expected to live longer than a year.
Banks went on to say he had asked his partner Adele Hartley "if she would do me the honour of becoming my widow," and that the couple had married in a private ceremony.
In a statement, his publisher said he was "an irreplaceable part of the literary world".
Little, Brown Book Group called the author "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.
"Just three weeks ago he was presented with finished copies of his last of his last novel and enjoyed celebration parties with old friends and fans across the publishing world."
Banks was born in Fife, Scotland and studied English, Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Sterling.
His first novel, the Wasp Factory, was published in 1984. He has also published non-fiction, including restaurant reviews, and a recent guide to and celebration of malt whisky, Raw Spirit (2003).
Banks has written two dozen novels, including science fiction under the name Iain M Banks. His most famous works have included The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Complicity.
He has received several literary awards throughout his career, including the British Science Fiction Association Award for Feersum Endjinn in 1994.
His final novel, The Quarry, will be released on June 20, 2013. The book depicts the final weeks of protagonist Guy, who is suffering with cancer. Banks is believed to have drawn heavily from his own experiences when writing the book, which he started after his diagnosis.
People have took to Twitter to pay tribute to the author, with many citing the Wasp factory as one of their favourite novels.
Banks will be survived by his wife and partner of seven years, Adele Hartley.
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