John le Carré: Espionage writer dies aged 89
British espionage writer John le Carré has died aged 89, following a short illness, his literary agent has said.
The author of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy died from pneumonia on Saturday.
Fellow authors paid tribute, with Stephen King calling him “a literary giant and a humanitarian spirit”.
Historical fiction writer Robert Harris said le Carré, who chronicled the world of Cold War spies, was “one of the great post-war British novelists”.
Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood tweeted that his novels featuring spymaster George Smiley – described by le Carré as an “antidote” to James Bond – were the “key to understanding the mid-20th Century”.
Historian and novelist Simon Sebag Montefiore described le Carré as “the titan of English literature” and said he was “heartbroken”.
Jonny Geller, the author’s agent, said he was an “undisputed giant of English literature” who “defined the Cold War era and fearlessly spoke truth to power”.
“We will not see his like again,” he said in a statement.
Mr Geller said he represented the novelist, whose real name was David Cornwell, for almost 15 years and “his loss will be felt by every book lover, everyone interested in the human condition”.
“We have lost a great figure of English literature, a man of great wit, kindness, humour and intelligence. I have lost a friend, a mentor and an inspiration.”
A statement shared on behalf of the author’s family said: “It is with great sadness that we must confirm that David Cornwell – John le Carré – passed away from pneumonia last Saturday night after a short battle with the illness.
“David is survived by his beloved wife of almost 50 years, Jane, and his sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon.
“We all grieve deeply his passing. Our thanks go to the wonderful NHS team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for the care and compassion that he was shown throughout his stay. We know they share our sadness.”
The statement said his death was not Covid-19 related.