The Wasp Factory author Iain Banks dies at 59

Iain Banks has died after battling cancer. He was 59. Photo / AP
Iain Banks has died after battling cancer. He was 59. Photo / AP

Scottish author Iain Banks has died aged 59, two months after he revealed he had late-stage cancer and was unlikely to survive beyond a year.

The BBC reported the death on Sunday, citing his family.

The author of The Wasp Factory was one of Britain's most prolific writers and wrote both mainstream novels and science fiction, the latter under the name Iain M Banks.

He died less than a fortnight before the publication of his final book, The Quarry, which was due out on June 20.

Publishers had worked to bring the book forward so he could see it on the shelves following his announcement on his website in April that he had only months to live.

"I am officially Very Poorly," Banks announced with trademark black humour, explaining that the cancer had started in his gall bladder and spread to his liver, pancreas and lymph nodes.

"The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it's extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last."

Banks rose to prominence in 1984 with his first novel The Wasp Factory, the dark tale of a Scottish teenager who murders three children in his family before he is 10.

He was known for his frenetic writing pace, often completing a novel in less than three months.


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