Dick Francis, the former jockey turned best selling thriller writer, has died. He was 89. He passed away at his Caribbean home in Grand Cayman, according to a short statement released through his publicist.
During the latter part of his life Francis became best known as one of the most popular British thriller writers, penning 42 novels based on the horse racing industry, as well as an autobiography, The Sport of Queens, and a biography of Lester Piggott. But those achievements stemmed from a successful earlier career as a National Hunt jockey, winning over 350 races and being honoured as Champion Jockey for the 1953/4 season.
He rode eight times in the Grand National, including for HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1956. On that occassion his horse, Devon Lock, collapsed beneath him as he appeared to be on course for victory.
A small funeral is planned at Francis's home in Grand Cayman, followed by a memorial service in London. He is survived by two sons, Felix and Merrick.
Felix Francis said: "My brother, Merrick, and I are, of course devastated by the loss of our father, but we rejoice in having been the sons of such an extraordinary man. We share in the joy that he brought to so many over such a long life. It is an honour for me to be able to continue his remarkable legacy through the new novels.
His wife Mary, to whom he was married for 53 years, died in 2000. His publicist said that Francis had not been suffering from apparent ill health but had been getting "more and more frail" in the last few years.
Source: The Telegraph
For collectible books by Dick Francis see: Books Tell You Why