Award-winning writer and filmmaker Peter Wells MNZM died earlier today.

The 69-year-old passed away in Auckland's Mercy Hospice surrounded by close friends and his husband, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, Stuff reports.

Social media is awash with tributes for the prominent New Zealand novelist, filmmaker and gay pioneer who recently opened up about life with cancer.

Auckland Writers Festival, which Wells co-founded, said they were "so sad" to hear of his death.

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"We are so sad to hear the loss of Peter Wells, co-founder of the Auckland Writers Festival, long-time trustee and writing luminary," they wrote.

"Our thoughts go out to Peter's husband Douglas Lloyd Jenkins and his family. Go well dear friend, we will miss you."

Read More: Peter Wells on marriage, death and what it all means

Other people credited Wells for his career, one person calling him "one of the most honest voices in New Zealand writing."

"RIP Peter Wells. Condolences to family and friends. So many amazing works you gave us," another said.

"Peter Wells died this afternoon. He faced his illness with great courage and dignity. Condolences to his friends and especially to Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins," one wrote."

Wells was diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2017 and began writing on his private Facebook page about them the same month.

The posts traced his journey from diagnosis, through chemotherapy and, most recently in late March 2018, to the point where his oncologist told him his tumours had shrunk by half.

Wells wrote numerous short stories titled Dangerous Desires and he was the author of New Zealand's first gay-themed work published by an openly gay writer.

In 2006, Wells was announced as a member in the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to literature and film.