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His publisher Pan Macmillan has announced that writer James Herbert died at his home in Sussex early this morning.

James-HerbertThe author, who was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2010, had his 23rd novel – Ash – published last week.

Herbert began writing his debut novel, The Rats, at the age of 28. It was published in 1974 and the first paperback edition sold out in three weeks.

In The Rats, London is overcome by giant black rodents who attack, kill and eat people including a dog and a young baby. His second novel, The Fog (1975), was about a chemical weapon being accidentally released.

Herbert became firmly established as one of the country’s leading horror writers and his works had been published in mroe than 34 languages. He has sold mroe than 54 million copies of his books worldwide.

Jeremy Trevathan, James Herbert’s editor for ten years, said: “It’s a true testament to Jim Herbert’s writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death. He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime. His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century.”

Four of his novels, The Rats, The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted, were made into films, and his 2006 novel The Secret of Crickley Hall was made into a TV miniseries on BBC One last year.

In the same week that he was awarded an OBE, Herbert was made Grand Master of Horror by the World of Horror Convention.

He is survived by his wife, Eileen and their three daughters.

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