Thu, 21 Mar 2013 13:45:00 GMT | By AFP

Horror writer Herbert dies aged 69

Best-selling British horror writer James Herbert passes away. He was 69.

Horror writer Herbert dies aged 69 (© Getty Images)

London: British author James Herbert, best known for penning classic horror novel, The Rats, has died aged 69, his publisher said on Wednesday.

Pan Macmillan, confirmed that the best-selling writer, who was honoured by the Queen in 2010, had died at his home in Sussex, southeast England, early Wednesday.

No cause of death was given.

Editor Jeremy Trevathan called him "one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s" and "one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th Century".

His breakthrough 1974 book, The Rats, imagined a London terrorised by mutant rodents.

He went on to publish 23 novels -- the last of which, 'Ash', was released last week -- and sold 54 million copies worldwide.

"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," Trevathan added.

"He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime," he said.

He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and three daughters Kerry, Emma and Casey.

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