Australian author Bryce Courtenay dies

Bryce Courtenay
Bryce Courtenay
Beloved Australian author Bryce Courtenay has died at his Canberra home last night, surrounded by his family and pets, aged 79.

Courtenay, whose best-sellers include The Power of One, The Potato Factory and Tommo & Hawk, died at 11.30pm.

"We'd like to thank all of Bryce's family and friends and all of his fans around the world for their love and support for me and his family as he wrote the final chapter of his extraordinary life," Courtenay's wife Christine said in a statement today.

"And may we make a request for privacy as we cherish his memory."

Courtenay didn't let his fight with cancer slow him down, with his final book, Jack of Diamonds, being released this month by Penguin.

The South-African born author left his final word in a moving epilogue in this last book.

Courtenay wrote: "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."