Bryce Courtenay loses battle with cancer at 79

Friday, November 23, 2012
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One of Australia's favourite authors, Bryce Courtenay, has died at the age of 79.

The South African-born novelist passed away in his Canberra home at 11pm on Thursday with his family by his side, ending a long battle with stomach cancer.

The best-selling author was best known for his much-loved novel The Power of One, the story of a child growing up in the time of South Africa's apartheid.

Published in 1989, the book sold more than 8 million copies and remains one of Australia's best-selling novels.

He has penned more than 20 works other works, and became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995, and has been acknowledged as an Australia Post Literary Legend.

He revealed his diagnosis only months ago.

"I have been diagnosed with terminal gastric cancer and am expected to have only some months to share with my adorable wife Christine," he shared with Facebook fans in September.

At the time, wife Christine Gee said she found the diagnosis devastating.

"Bryce is Australia's Dickens," she told A Current Affair.

"He's an inspiration. I'm the luckiest girl in the world to be married to him and I know he'll live in our hearts forever."

Courtenay is survived by his wife Christine Gee and his children Adam and Brett, and his beloved pets Tim, the dog, and Cardamon, a Burmese cat.

In a moving epilogue in his final book, Bryce said to readers “It’s been a privilege to write for you and to have you accept me as a storyteller in your lives. Now, as my story draws to an end, may I say only, ‘Thank you. You have been simply wonderful.’"

Minutes after Courtenay's publisher Penguin released a statement that the author had passed away, social media had already begun flooding with heartfelt tributes.

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