Tom Clancy, the best-selling American spy fiction author, has passed away in a Baltimore hospital aged 66. The Maryland-born writer became famous for his detailed tales of espionage and thrilling adventures created through gripping military storyline. His 17th and last novel will be published post-humously, with Commander Authority due out in December.

Tom Clancy
Tom Clancy, Spy Writer Extraordinaire, Has Passed Away.

Clancy's most famous character who featured in twelve of his novels was CIA analyst Jack Ryan and whose stories were turned into movies including The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears.

Clancy was remembered as "a master of his craft" by Tom Weldon, chief executive of publishers Penguin Random House UK, via BBC News. "Tom Clancy changed readers' expectations of what a thriller could do. He will be greatly missed by millions of fans in the UK and around the world."

The Hunt for Red October, Clancy's most famous and debut novel of 1984, sold 5 million copies and was made into a movie in 1990 starring Alec Baldwin, who played Ryan, and Sean Connery, who played Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius.

With Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger all having been turned into movies over the years, Jack Ryan: Shadow One is a new movie expected to hit cinemas this December with Kennegh Branagh directing.

Clancy's productivity made him one of the richest authors in the world, ranked at Number 10 on the Forbes author rich list in 2002 with a net worth estimated in the region of $47.8m (£33m).

Tom Clancy DeathClancy Will Be Remembered Through His Legacy Of Novels, Movies & Video Games.

"Tom Clancy was an extraordinary author with a gift for creating detailed, engrossing fictional stories that captivated audiences around the world," said video games company Ubisoft, via Facebook. As well as being a talented author, Clancy was also closely associated with the world of video gaming, founding Red Storm Entertainment in 1990 which was then purchased by Ubisoft.

The company developed games based on Clancy's ideas and popular titles Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six were developed. Ubisoft added, "We are humbled by the opportunity to carry on part of his legacy through our properties that bear his name."

Clancy's typically detailed tales of espionage came under caution when, in a 2003 interview, CNN presenter Wolf Blitzer suggested Clancy's precise accounts of the US military techniques were giving away secrets to terrorists. Clancy replied with "I never got any fan mail from Osama bin Laden, and I don't really know how many books I sold in Afghanistan. You have to talk to the marketing people about that. But I'm not really concerned about it."

"To publish a Tom Clancy book was a thrill every time," praised Ivan Held, president of Penguin imprint G P Putnam's Sons.

Clancy is survived by his wife Alexandra.