Bryce Courtenay, best selling South African-born, Australian author, has died ages 79 after battling cancer, Reuters reports. His passing comes just two weeks after he published his last novel.

His death late on Thursday came less than three months after he told fans he had stomach cancer. "We'd like to thank all of Bryce's family and friends and all of his fans around the world for their love and support for me and his family as he wrote the final chapter of his extraordinary life," his wife Christine Courtenay said in a joint statement with publisher Penguin Books. Famous for writing about the struggles of life in Australia and South Africa, Bryce issued an emotional thank you video to his fans to accompany his last book, Jack of Diamonds. "My use-by date has finally come up and I've probably got just a few months to live. I don't mind that, because I've had a wonderful life," he said in the video."But part of that wonderful life has been those people who have been kind enough to pick up a Bryce Courtenay book and read it, and enjoy it, and buy the next one, and be with me in what has been for me an incredible journey. All I'd like to say is, as simply as I possibly can, thank you."

He burst onto the literary scene in 1989 with his first novel, The Power Of One, about a child's journey to adulthood under South Africa's apartheid regime.