James Herbert, one of UK’s most popular horror fiction authors for novels including The Fog and The Survivor, has passed away at the age of 69 in his home at Sussex. The author’s death was confirmed on Wednesday by his publisher, Pan Macmillan, on its website. Here’s you need to know about this grand master of horror fiction.
1. No Cause of Death Was Given
James Herbert passed away on his bed inside his home in Sussex, England, but there has been no report of how he died. A spokeswoman for the publisher told the Irish Times that there were no signs of illness before his death.
2. His Was a “Giant” Whose Works Were “Classics in His Lifetime”
Since Herbert’s passing, his editor of 10 years, Jeremy Trevathan, led tributes for the famed horror writer. The editor described his colleague and friend as “one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.” During the memorial, Jeremy said:
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. His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century.
3. Herbert Published 23 Novels, Selling 54 Million Copies
James Herbert’s first novel, The Rats became a bestseller immediately, selling 100,000 copies within two weeks of its publication in 1974. Since then, he wrote 23 novels in more than 30 languages, selling a total of 54 million copies worldwide. Some of his novels like The Fog and The Rats were later adapted into feature films during the 1980s. His last novel, Ash, came out back in 2012 to rave reviews and became a bestseller.
4. He Was Awarded the OBE by the Queen in 2010
Herbert was awarded the prestigious Order of the British Empire in 2010 during the year’s Birthday Honors. It’s the next notch down from being knighted. The honor deemed him an officer of the British Royal Empire. On that same year, the author was titled the “Grand Master of Horror” by the World of Horror Convention.
5. He is Survived By a Wife and Three Daughters
The author was married to his wife Eileen O’Donnell in 1967 and had three daughters, Kerry, Emma and Casey. In an early interview with the Telegraph, he spoke with the paper about balancing his work with family. “I worry about the many things that could happen to the people I love,” he said. “The books are full of that neurosis and I guess people tune into that. I have a dread of sounding pretentious and try not to talk too much about what I do.”