British author Dame Hilary Mantel has died at the age of 70.

On Friday, a statement from her publishers HarperCollins confirmed the award-winning writer had died “suddenly yet peacefully” surrounded by close family and friends.

Paying tribute, HarperCollins described Dame Hilary as “one of the greatest English novelists of this century”.

A tweet posted on the publisher’s official account read: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald.

“This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.”

Dame Hilary was best known for her Wolf Hall trilogy of books, providing a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in Henry VIII’s court.

The first two books in the saga, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, both earned her the Booker Prize, making her the fourth author in history and first woman to receive the award twice.

In 2020, Dame Hilary released the third and final instalment of the trilogy, The Mirror And The Light, which was longlisted for The Booker Prize that year, as well as receiving the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

Wolf Hall was adapted for the screen in 2015, with Mark Rylance in the lead role of Thomas Cromwell, while Damian Lewis portrayed Henry VIII.

The miniseries – based on both Wolf Hall and its follow-up – was also a success, receiving a Golden Globe win and eight Emmy nominations.

As well as historical fiction, Dame Hilary released a memoir, Giving Up The Ghost, in 2003.

She received a Damehood for her services to literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014, having been named a CBE eight years earlier.

Dame Hilary is survived by her husband Gerald McEwen, who she first married in 1973. While the pair divorced in 1981, they eventually remarried the following year.

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