Tributes have been paid to the author Iain Banks, 59, best known for his novels The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road, who has died just two months after announcing he had terminal cancer.
The Scottish writer had announced his illness with trademark dark humour on his website on 3 April, telling fans he was "officially Very Poorly" and had been diagnosed with late stage gall bladder cancer and was unlikely to live for more than a year. He had asked his partner, Adele Hartley, to do him the honour "of becoming my widow", he had added.
In his last update, on 20 May, he had posted that he was considering chemotherapy to prolong his life if doctors felt it was appropriate.
But his condition deteriorated rapidly on Wednesday. In an email to friends, his widow said that he had died peacefully and was in no pain. The couple had been hoping for a few more months together.
His friend and fellow writer, Ken MacLeod, told BBC News: "He was still in good spirits and concentrating on his plans and projects and expecting to have another few months. But his situation took a turn for the worse."
He added: "What Iain brought to his writing was himself. He brought a wonderful combination of the dark and the light side of life, and he explored them both without flinching.
"He left us a very significant body of work both in mainstream literature and in science fiction. And he left a large gap in the Scottish literary scene as well as that of the wider English-speaking world."
Neil Gaiman, also a close friend of Banks, tweeted: "Iain Banks is dead. I'm crying in an empty house. A good man and a friend for almost 30 years."
Banks, an honorary associate of the National Secular Society, will have a very small, humanist funeral. He had selected a dozen people to attend the short ceremony. An informal memorial gathering will be held at a later date.
Banks, who wrote science fiction under the name Iain M Banks, published The Wasp Factory, his first novel, in 1984. It was ranked as one of the best 100 books of the 20th century in a 1997 poll conducted by Waterstone's and Channel 4. In 2008, Banks was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by the Times. In all he wrote more than two dozen novels.