Iain Banks, the award-winning Scottish author, has died aged 59 from cancer two months after revealing that he was suffering from the disease, a friend said.
Banks, whose books included "The Wasp Factory", penned an emotional statement in April in which he said he had late-stage gall bladder cancer and only expected to live for a few more months.
Friend and fellow author Ken MacLeod said he had just heard of Banks' death.
"I got the email from his wife Adele not much more than an hour ago. I'm still in a state of some disbelief," he told BBC TV.
"He was still in good spirits and concentrating on his plans and projects and expecting to have another few months. But his situation took a turn for the worse."
A spokesperson for his publisher Little Brown could not be immediately reached. Its website was still advertising his upcoming novel, The Quarry, due out this month.
Banks, whose other books included "The Crow Road" and "Complicity", also wrote science fiction under the name of Iain M Banks.
Born in Fife, he studied at Stirling University before publishing "The Wasp Factory", his first novel, in 1984.
In 2008, he was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by The Times newspaper.