LONDON - Hilary Mantel, the best-selling British author of the award-winning Wolf Hall trilogy, died peacefully on Thursday at the age of 70, her publisher said.
Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up The Bodies, published three years later, together sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy. The final in the series, The Mirror & The Light, was published in March 2020.
"It is with great sadness that HarperCollins announces that best-selling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE died peacefully, surrounded by close family and friends, yesterday," a statement from her publisher 4th Estate Books, which is owned by HarperCollins, said on Friday.
"Hilary Mantel will always be remembered as a truly original writer. She leaves behind a remarkable body of work which inspire readers around the world."
The Wolf Hall trilogy, which has been serialised by the BBC, charts the fortunes of Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's son who rose to be King Henry VIII's most powerful adviser only to fall from grace and meet a gruesome end.
"Her biting wit, stylistic daring, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight mark her out as one of the greatest novelists of our time," said her agent Bill Hamilton. He said Mantel, who suffered long-term pain from endometriosis, had dealt "courageously" with chronic health problems.
Mantel studied law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University and was a social worker. She started writing while living in Botswana for five years with her geologist husband Gerald McEwen. They divorced, but later remarried.
Her first novel, Every Day Is Mother's Day, was published in 1985. In total she wrote 17 books, including non-fiction.
"Such terribly sad news. It is impossible to overstate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind. Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the crowning achievement... Rest in peace," Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter.