Tom Clancy Dead: 'The Hunt for Red' Author's Cause of Death Unknown

Oct 02, 2013 02:43 PM EDT | By Dina Exil

Tom Clancy, prolific author of military thriller that turned into box office gold, with movies such as "The Hunt for Red" and "Clear and Present Danger," has died Monday at the age of 66 in Baltimore, MD.

Clancy's publisher confirmed the author's death.

"I'm deeply saddened by Tom's passing.," executive David Shanks said in a statement, according to NBC News. "He was a consummate author creating the modern-day thriller, and was one of the most visionary storytellers of our time. I will miss him dearly and he will be missed by tens of millions of readers worldwide."

There have been no reports on casue of death.

Born in Baltimore in 1947, Clancy was an insurance salesman before he went on to write blockbuster espionage books, including "The Hunt for Red October" which he sold to the Naval Institute Press for only $5,000, according to NBC News.

The book took off when President Ronald Reagan, who had received a copy, called it "my kind of yarn" and said he was losing sleep because he could not put it down. After the book's publication in 1985, Clancy was praised for his mastery of "technical details about Soviet submarines and weaponry" according to the New York Times. Other blockbuster books included "Patriot Games" (1987) and "Clear and Present Danger" (1989). Clancy also published "Red Strom Rising" in 1986 and "The Cardinal of the Kermlin" in 1988.

The books spawned commercially successful films with actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck as Clancy's famous fictional character Jack Ryan. Clancy's other famous character, John Clark, has been played by actors Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber.

Seventeen of his novels were No. 1 New York Times best sellers, including his most recent, "Threat Vector," which was released in December 2012. Clancy was frequently accused of using classified information in his novels, a claim that amused him.

While he spent time on military bases, visited the Pentagon and dined with high-level military officials, Clancy insisted he didn't want to know any classified information.

"I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can," he once said in an interview, according to the Times. "I've made up stuff that's turned out to be real that's the spooky part."

Clancy's latest book, "Command Authority" is due to hit bookshelves on Dec. 3.

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