Best-selling horror author James Herbert, "one of the giants of popular fiction", has died aged 69, his publisher has announced.
Mr Herbert, who wrote horror classic The Rats, passed away peacefully in bed at his home in Sussex, Pan Macmillan said.
He is survived by his wife Eileen, whom he married in 1967, and their three daughters Kerry, Emma and Casey.
Jeremy Trevathan, his editor for 10 years, and a Macmillan publisher, said: "Jim Herbert was one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.
"It's a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death.
"He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime. His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century."