Sue Townsend, the British author responsible for the multi-million selling Adrian Mole series documenting the hum-drum life of an awkward teenager, has died aged 68, her son told the BBC on Friday.
According to the broadcaster, her son Danny Townsend confirmed that the novelist had died at home on Thursday after a short illness.
After writing a series of well-received plays, Sue Townsend was catapulted to mainstream fame when she released “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and three fourths in 1982.
Within three years, the book had sold close to two million copies and was followed in 1984 by “The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole”, which helped her to become Britain’s top-selling author of the 1980s.
“Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years”, the last of the eight-part series, was released in 2009.
Townsend, who was born in the central England city of Leicester in 1946, contracted TB peritonitis at 23, had a heart attack in her 30s, suffered from Charcot’s joint-degenerative arthritis — confining her to a wheelchair — and lost her sight after being diagnosed with diabetes in the 1980s.
She underwent a kidney transplant in 2009, with her eldest son Sean donating one of his organs, and suffered a stroke over Christmas 2012.
Writer and journalist Caitlin Moran was one of many stars who paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “One of the funniest women who ever lived.”
Comedy writer Danny Wallace said: “Farewell, brilliant Sue Townsend. Rest in peace, Adrian Mole” while playwright Simon Stephens added: “I met Sue Townsend. Very early in my career. She was much more inspiring than I thought she would be and I thought she would be amazing.”