Non-fiction writer and journalist Charles Bowden has died, aged 69.

Bowden was found dead at his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Saturday (30Aug14). His close friend Ray Carroll says he had been battling an undisclosed illness and died in his sleep.

The writer penned a number of non-fiction books including Murder City, Down by the River, and Blues for the Cannibals. He was awarded the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction in 1996, and also received a United States Artists Fellowship Grant for Artistic Excellence in 2010 in recognition of his work.

Bowden was also an investigative journalist who contributed to magazines including GQ, Esquire, and Mother Jones. He spent a decade writing about drug wars in the Mexican border city of Juarez.

An autopsy will be carried out at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.