09:46 15 February 2010
Bestselling thriller writer and former champion horse jockey Dick Francis has died aged 89.
Tributes from racing luminaries and authors have paid tribute to Francis, who wrote 40 bestselling novels over his career, resulting in sales of 60 million copies worldwide.
Writer Frederick Forsyth praised Francis's "immensely prolific" output of "page-turners", and said authors were still "walking in his footsteps".
Meanwhile, former BBC commentator Sir Peter O'Sullevan said the best-selling writer was one of the "people's champions". He said: "I particularly enjoyed reading his novels and found him a wonderfully efficient author."
Francis was a champion horse rider in the 1950s and the Queen Mother's jockey.
He first published his autobiography in 1957, and his first thriller, 'Dead Cert', followed five years later.
Former jockey John Francome said: "He was a lovely person who always had a sparkle in his eye and he had a wicked sense of humour.
"I remember we used to laugh out loud about the old times."
Francis won many awards for his writing, including Crime Writer's Association lifetime achievement award in 1996.
He was made a CBE in 2000 for services to literature.
Francis's most recent works, including 'Dead Heat' and 'Silks', were co-authored by his son Felix, with the next due to be published in autumn.
Felix Francis said he was "devastated" at the loss of his father: "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."
A private funeral is due to be held in the Caribbean with a memorial service in London later on.
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