Author Ursula K. Le Guin, known best for her "Earthsea" series of fantasy novels, has died at age 88. Le Guin died Monday, her agent confirmed to NPR. Le Guin "brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy," the New York Times wrote in its obituary of the author, whose books have been translated into some 40 languages and sold millions worldwide. In an early exploration of gender identity, one of Le Guin's most popular works, The Left Hand of Darkness, takes place on a planet where inhabitants are neither male nor female. The novel was among some 20 of the often femininist-leaning books Le Guin authored over the course of her career. According to EW.com, Le Guin also penned short stories, poetry compilations, and children's books. She was the recipient of a National Book Award, a Hugo, and a Nebula Award.
Born in 1929 and raised in Berkeley, Calif., Le Guin was the daughter of anthropologists. She would carry on the academic tradition after undergraduate studies at Radcliffe College, when the LA Times notes she pursued graduate studies in French and Italian literature at Columbia University. Le Guin, née Kroeber, left Columbia after being awarded a Fulbright to study in France, where she would meet her future husband. The two would go on to settle in Portland, Ore. "The family of Ursula K. Le Guin is deeply saddened to announce her peaceful death yesterday afternoon," reads a message on the writer's official Twitter account, which had been active up until this month. Le Guin is survived by her husband, Charles Le Guin, their two daughters, and their son. The family did not confirm a cause of death, but said Le Guin had been ill for the last several months. (Read more fantasy stories.)