R.I.P: Patriot Games Writer Tom Clancy Dies At 66

Another great writer gone after Chinua Achebe.

Best-selling US author Tom Clancy, who wrote high-tech, Cold War thrillers including Patriot Games and The Hunt For Red October, has died aged 66.

He reportedly died in hospital in Baltimore last night.

A cause of death has not yet been revealed.

Clancy penned a series of spy and military thrillers including The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger and The Sum Of All Fears, which were all made into successful Hollywood films.

Several of his books featured his hero character Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst.

Harrison Ford played Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger while Alec Baldwin was in the role for The Hunt For Red October, alongside Sean Connery as the captain of a Soviet submarine.

Ben Affleck played Ryan in The Sum Of All Fears, and a fifth film featuring Ryan called Shadow One is due for release later this year.

The president of Clancy’s publisher Putnam, Ivan Held, was quoted as saying: “He was a thrill to work with.”

Clancy was born in Baltimore on April 12, 1947. He entered Loyola College as a physics major, but then switched to English, admitting later he was not clever enough for the rigours of science.

After graduating in 1969, he married wife Wanda and joined her family’s insurance business, all the while scribbling down ideas for a novel.

In 1979, Clancy began Patriot Games, in which he invented his hero, Jack Ryan.

In 1982, he put it aside and started The Hunt For Red October, basing it on a real incident in November 1979, in which a Soviet missile frigate called the Storozhevoy attempted to defect.

In real life, the ship did not make it, but in Clancy’s book the defection was a success.

By a stroke of luck, President Ronald Reagan got Red October as a Christmas gift and quipped at a dinner that he was losing sleep because he could not put the book down.

Clancy later said those remarks helped put him on the New York Times best-seller list.

The writer had said his dream had been simply to publish a book, hopefully a good one, so that he would be in the Library of Congress catalogue.

He had sold the The Hunt for Red October manuscript to the first publisher he tried, the Naval Institute Press, which had never bought original fiction.

The book led to a string of hits, both on the page and in Hollywood blockbusters, including the 1987 book Patriot Games, made into a film five years later.

He even ventured into video games with the best-selling Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent.

Ubisoft Entertainment, a company that Clancy co-founded, said: “We are saddened to learn of Tom Clancy’s passing and our condolences go out to his family.

“Tom Clancy was an extraordinary author with a gift for creating detailed, engrossing fictional stories that captivated audiences around the world.

“The teams at Ubisoft, especially at the Red Storm studio, are incredibly grateful to have collaborated with and learned from him, and we are humbled by the opportunity to carry on part of his legacy through our properties that bear his name.”

Sandi Mendelson, who worked with Clancy early in his career, told Sky News: “Working with him was just extraordinary.

“It was the beginning of his rise in popularity … He was incredibly professional and talented … his writing was extraordinary, the detail, the authenticity, people got lost in his books.”

May his soul Rest In Peace.

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