Scottish author Iain Banks has died barely two months after revealing that he had late-stage bladder cancer. The 59-year-old—who alternated mainstream fiction books with sci-fi novels written as Iain M. Banks—was widely seen as one of the best British writers of his generation and tributes have poured in from around the literary world, the Guardian reports. In his writing, Banks "brought a wonderful combination of the dark and the light side of life, and he explored them both without flinching," says fellow author Ken MacLeod.
Banks died days before the release of his final novel, The Quarry. It details the last weeks of a man dying of cancer, though Banks had almost finished the book before he received his own diagnosis. "So it wasn't as though this is a response to the disease or anything, the book had been kind of ready to go," he told the BBC. "And then 10,000 words from the end, as it turned out, I suddenly discovered that I had cancer." (Read more Iain Banks stories.)