(Reuters) - Best-selling U.S. author Tom Clancy, whose military thrillers about spies and submarines fascinated readers with their high-stakes plots and enthralled military experts with their precise details, has died, his publisher said on Wednesday.
"We are saddened by the passing of beloved bestselling author Tom Clancy. Fans worldwide, including us, will miss him greatly," publisher Penguin Books USA said on its official Twitter feed.
The G.P. Putnam's imprint that appeared on Clancy's books is a unit of Penguin.
Clancy, who was 66, died in Johns Hopkins Hospital in his native Baltimore, Maryland, according to U.S. media reports. A hospital spokeswoman was not immediately able to confirm that information.
Clancy's 20 novels - starting with 1984's "The Hunt for Red October" and continuing through "The Sum of All Fears," "Rainbow Six" and the upcoming "Command Authority" were not only best-sellers but inspired Hollywood blockbuster films and a series of video games, published by Ubisort Entertainment SA.
His most recent book, "Threat Vector" debuted at the top of the Publishers Weekly bestseller list in December 2012. His publisher is a unit of Britain's Pearson PLC.
In a 1992 interview with The Baltimore Sun, he attributed much of his success to being "lucky," saying that he had a normal middle-class American upbringing.
"I was a little nerdy but a completely normal kid," Clancy told the paper. "Mom and Dad loved each other. It was like 'Leave it to Beaver."
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Diane Craft)