The book publishers Pan MacMillan have confirmed that the horror author James Herbert has died at the age of 69. He passed away at his home in Sussex this morning (March 20, 2013) and no cause of death had been given. Herbert was the author of the best-selling novel The Rats and in 2010 was awarded an OBE by the Queen. The book depicted the city of London being over-run by mutant flesh-eating rodents. It sold over 100,000 copies within a fortnight of being published in 1974.

His editor for a decade, Jeremy Trevathan, paid tribute to him, saying “It's a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death. He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime,” BBC News report. He described Herbert as “one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century.”

Herbert has published 23 novels, in over 30 languages and has sold over 54 million copies across the globe. His final novel, Ash, was published just last week. Herbert was born in London, in April 1943, and at the age of 10, won a scholarship to St. Aloysius Grammar School. He is survived by his wife Eileen, to whom he had been married since 1967 and their three daughters, Emma, Kerry and Casey.