JK Rowling led the tribute to Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel, who has passed away at the age of 70.
The bestselling author died “suddenly but peacefully” surrounded by close friends.
Rowling told her 14 million Twitter followers, “We’ve lost a genius.”
Ms. Mantel’s publisher, Harper Collins, announced the author’s death online in a statement.
She twice won the Man Booker Prize – first for Wolf Hall, which sold 1 million copies in the UK alone.
The sequel, Bring Up The Bodies, also won the Booker Prize and the Costa Book of The Year Award in 2012.
This made the hugely popular author the first British writer to win the Man Booker Prize twice and the only writer to do so with two consecutive novels.
The Mirror and The Light, the final installment in the trilogy, was an instant number one bestseller when it was published in 2020.
Ms Mantel was named a Lady by the Queen in 2015 for her services to literature.
Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel has died suddenly at age 70, her publisher has announced
Hilary Mantel leaves behind her husband Gerald, pictured here with the author at the Evening Standard Theater Awards in 2014
Ms. Mantel’s publisher 4th Estate Books, owned by Harpin Collins, announced the sad news on Twitter
The Mirror and The Light, the third book in Mantel’s Cromwell series, was an instant bestseller upon its release in 2020.
She leaves behind her husband of almost 50 years, Gerald. The couple separated for two years before reuniting.
The author said in a 2020 interview that the endometriosis she suffered from all her life was the reason for the split.
Mrs. Mantel fought the disease from the age of 19. She told Radio 5: ‘You have to find a way to live with it and live around it.
“I’ve been sick most of my life, especially since I was 19.”
Bill Hamilton, Dame Hilary’s agent at the literary agency AM Heath, said it had been “the greatest privilege” to work with her throughout her career.
He said: ‘Her humor, stylistic audacity, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight characterize her as one of the greatest novelists of our time.
She will be remembered for her tremendous generosity to other budding writers, her ability to enthuse a live audience, and the sheer volume of journalism and criticism, which produced some of the best commentary on issues and books.
Hilary’s emails were sprinkled with bon mots and jokes as she observed the world with relish, plunging into 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 that us mere mortals had overlooked, but when she saw the need for confrontation, she would go into battle fearlessly.
Her novel, Wolf Hall, was turned into a hugely successful TV series starring Mark Rylance
‘And all this against the background 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 a special legacy. Our thoughts go out to her beloved husband Gerald, family and friends.”
A spokesperson for Harper Collins said: ‘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 that she left us such a beautiful body of work.”
Author and screenwriter Emma Kennedy paid tribute to Mantel’s “eternal gifts.”
She tweeted: ‘What a phenomenal writer she was. Eternal gifts that will be read for the rest of time. Going well Hilary. REST IN PEACE.’
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: ‘It is impossible to overestimate the significance of the literary legacy Hilary Mantel leaves behind’.
She added: ‘Her brilliant Wolf Hall trilogy was the culmination of an outstanding body of work. Rest in peace.’