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Swashbuckling Adventure Novelist Wilbur Smith Dies Aged 88

By Oreoritse Tariemi
16 November 2021   |   12:18 pm
Zambian bestselling adventure author Wilbur Smith has died aged 88 in his home in South Africa.  With a decade-long writing career and 49 titles under his belt, Smith has become a household name. His swashbuckling adventure stories take readers from tropical islands to the jungles of Africa and even Ancient Egypt and World War II.…

Wilbur Smith | The Guardian

Zambian bestselling adventure author Wilbur Smith has died aged 88 in his home in South Africa. 

With a decade-long writing career and 49 titles under his belt, Smith has become a household name. His swashbuckling adventure stories take readers from tropical islands to the jungles of Africa and even Ancient Egypt and World War II.

The statement released on Saturday by his publishers Bonnier Books UK on the Wilbur Smith Books website reads, “Global bestselling author Wilbur Smith died unexpectedly this afternoon at his Cape Town home after a morning of reading and writing with his wife Niso by his side.” 

“The undisputed and inimitable master of adventure writing, Wilbur Smith’s novels have gripped readers for over half a century, selling over 140 million copies worldwide in more than thirty languages.”

However, the statement did not reveal the cause of death.

His 1964 debut novel When the Lion Feeds tells the tale of a young man growing up on a South African cattle ranch. The book became an instant bestseller, leading to 15 sequels tracing the ambitious family’s fortunes for more than 200 years. 

Smith, born in Zambia in 1933 to a British family, was also a big game hunter growing up in the forest, hills and savannah of Africa on his parents’ ranch.

He also held a pilot’s licence and was a scuba diver. Smith was married four times, with his last wife Mokhiniso Rakhimova from Tajikistan 39 years his junior. 

The two had met in a London bookstore and married in 2000.

“She brought me back to life. She taught me to love again,” Smith wrote on his website.