Tom Clancy, who was most well-known for writing novels on espionage and complex military plots, died in Baltimore on Tuesday (Oct 1st). He was 66 years old.

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Clancy was the master of war fiction

The American was a best-selling author for his work on spy fiction died in John Hopkins Hospital after a brief illness, his lawyer, J.W. Thompson Webb, said on Wednesday.

One of Clancy's most celebrated works was his debut book 'The Hunt For Red October' which has been cited as one of the best novels of its genre and was even read by United States President Ronald Reagan, who called it "the perfect yarn".

The former insurance agent sent the manuscript to the Naval Institute Press who wasted no time in buying it, marking the first time the publication bought an original fiction novel.

The book was published in 1984 and was launched into the New York best seller list, selling 5 million copies. It is still to this day the Naval Institute Press' most successful fictional novel.

On the success of his debut, Clancy continued to use the novel's main protagonist, CIA analyst 'Jack Ryan' in 12 more spy novels which included 'Patriot Games', 'Red Storm Rising' and 'Without Remorse'.

Many of Clancy's work was adapted into huge Hollywood blockbusters such as 1990's 'The Hunt For Red October' starring Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery as well as 2002's 'The Sum Of All Fears' starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman. The latest will once again follow his integral CIA agent 'Jack Ryan', it will be directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Chris Pine. 'Jack Ryan: Shadow One' is slated for release on Christmas Day.

Tom Weldon, chief executive of Penguin Random House UK, thought Clancy was "a master of his craft", telling the 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".

Alec Baldwin, the star of 'The Hunt For Red October' honoured the late author on twitter, "Rest in peace the great writer Tom Clancy. A real gentleman of the old school".

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Clancy died in his hometown of Baltimore at the age of 66

Tom Clancy celebrated writing career made him one of the richest authors in the world, in 2002 Forbes ranked him 10th among authors with a fortune of $47.8 million (£33m).

His 17th and last novel 'Commander Authority' will be released posthumously sometime in December.