British spy novelist John le Carré has died at the age of 89, according to a statement from his agent. During a six-decade literary career, le Carré garnered worldwide fame for his fictional chronicles of espionage, including bestsellers such as The Spy Who Came In From the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
“We have lost a great figure of English literature, a man of great wit, kindness, humour and intelligence,” wrote Jonny Geller, the CEO of le Carré’s talent agency, in a statement. “His like will never be seen again, and his loss will be felt by every book lover, everyone interested in the human condition.”
Born David Cornwall, le Carré adopted his pen name during the beginning of his career; he was then an active member of the M16 spy agency, forbidden from writing under his actual name, according to a 1999 New Yorker profile. After his third novel—1963’s The Spy Who Came In From the Cold—became an international bestseller, he moved to writing full time.
Le Carré would go on to publish 25 novels over the course of his illustrious career, with his final work, Agent Running in the Field, coming out in 2019.
“For me, that intelligence experience that I had, that formative time in my life, has simply become a vehicle, a stage, a theater, that I use to express other things,” le Carré told NPR last year, in a promotional interview for the book.
He died of pneumonia on Saturday night, according to a statement from his family.
This is a developing story and will be updated.