Revered Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has died at the age of 82.

The writer, often hailed as 'the father of African literature', died following a short illness in a hospital in his adopted Boston, Massachusetts on Friday (22Mar13).

After excelling at school, Achebe came to worldwide attention with his debut book, Things Fall Apart, which details the story of an African tribal leader dealing with the beginning of British colonialism at the end of the 19th Century.

The book became an international hit, selling more than eight million copies and being translated in 50 languages. It is believed to be the most widely-read African novel in history.

He went on to write four more novels, and became a popular essayist and poet. He was awarded the 2007 Man Booker international prize in recognition of his literary achievements.

Achebe went on to work at America's prestigious Brown University, where he acted as professor of Africana studies until his death.

Confirming the news, his agent Andrew Wylie adds, "He was also a beloved husband, father, uncle and grandfather, whose wisdom and courage are an inspiration to all who knew him."