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Best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey dies aged 59 after ‘battling long illness’

Author Eric Jerome Dickey had died (Picture: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Best-selling American author Eric Jerome Dickey has died aged 59.

The popular novelist died on January 3 after ‘battling a long illness’, his publicist confirmed.

Dickey was famous for novels such as Sister, Sister, Friends & Lovers, and Between Lovers, which focused on contemporary African-American life.

La Verne Madison Fuller shared the news on social media, writing: ‘I am heart broken. My cousin, Eric Jerome Dickey passed away on yesterday.

‘Guys, when God tells you to do something, just do it. Just a few weeks ago, God woke me up to text him and say that I loved him. He let me know that he loved us too.’

His death was also confirmed by his career-long publisher, Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

The author was celebrated for creating nuanced African-American characters and stories (Picture: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

They said in an official statement: ‘It is with great sadness that we confirm that beloved New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey passed away on Sunday, January 3, in Los Angeles after battling a long illness. He was 59.

‘Eric Jerome Dickey was the author of twenty-nine novels, and his work has become a cultural touchstone over the course of his multi-decade writing career, earning him millions of dedicated readers around the world.’

Fans began to react to the sad news on Twitter as writer Roxane Gay wrote: ‘I am truly saddened to hear about the passing of Eric Jerome Dickey.

‘His were some of the first novels I ever read about black people that weren’t about slavery of civil rights. He was a great storyteller.’

The late author published The Business of Lovers last April, The story centered around character Brick Duquesne, who had recovered from a bout of cancer but did not tell his family about the illness.

Dickey is survived by four daughters.

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