Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel dies aged 70: Publisher

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LONDON - Historical novelist Hilary Mantel, the first British writer to win the Booker Prize twice, has died aged 70, her publishers 4th Estate Books announced on Friday.

"We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald," a statement said, without providing any other details.

"This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work."

Mantel won the Booker Prize for her works "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies".

"Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics. She will be greatly missed," the publisher added.

Nicholas Pearson, former 4th Estate publishing director, said news of her death was "devastating".

"Hilary had a unique outlook on the world - she picked it apart and revealed how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels - every book an unforgettable weave of luminous sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable insight.

"She seemed to know everything. For a long time she was critically admired, but The Wolf Hall Trilogy found her the vast readership she long deserved."

The Wolf Hall trilogy, which has been serialised by the BBC, charted the fortunes of Thomas Cromwell and his spectacular rise from the streets of London to the chief minister of King Henry VIII. AFP, REUTERS

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