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updated 9/10/2008 9:38:22 PM ET 2008-09-11T01:38:22

Gregory Mcdonald, whose best-selling "Fletch" mystery books also were made into films, has died, according to his manager. He was 71.

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Mcdonald died Sunday at his farm in Pulaski, Tennessee, about 60 miles southwest of Nashville, according to Mcdonald's manager, Dan List. List said Wednesday that Mcdonald had been diagnosed with cancer.

"Fletch," published in 1974, was the first in a series of books about an investigative reporter named Irwin M. Fletcher, who was later portrayed in the 1985 movie by actor Chevy Chase.

Mcdonald twice won the Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America and published 26 books, including "Running Scared," "Flynn," and "The Brave." He also was a journalist with the Boston Globe.

List said no funeral is planned, as requested by Mcdonald, but a memorial service may be held later.

"When the Fletch novels came out, they sold over 100 million copies," List said. "He told me that he got to experience what very few writers got to experience, which was being a celebrity."

List said the Harvard graduate moved to Tennessee in 1986 to avoid that celebrity, but he continued to write. His last book, "Souvenirs of a Blown World," a republished collection of his writings while at the Globe, will be released in early November, according to David Simon, the publisher at Seven Stories Press.

After moving to Pulaski, Mcdonald became an outspoken opponent of white supremacists who wanted to march there because the city was where the Ku Klux Klan originated.

He is survived by his wife, Cherlye, and five children, List said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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