British writer Sue Townsend, best known for her books about the fictional character Adrian Mole, has died at the age of 68 after a short illness.
Townsend, who was left blind after suffering from diabetes for many years, achieved worldwide success following the publication of the books about the teenager, the BBC reports.
The novels followed him from adolescence under Margaret Thatcher's government to maturity when Tony Blair was Prime Minister.
Mole began life as a spotty, pretentious teenager in a BBC radio play in the early 1980s. The book which followed, The Secret Life of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾, made Townsend the best-selling author of the decade and she went on to write five more volumes.
She said they were a reflection of the mood of the times and, in many respects, her hero mirrored her own experience. "I'm writing about Mole because he's the voice of England, for me. He perfectly takes on social change."
Several of her books were adapted for the stage, while the Mole series was adapted for radio, television and theatre. Her other best-selling novels included The Queen and I.
In March 2013, she told the Oxford Literary Festival that publication of the next Adrian Mole book had been pushed back as a result of a stroke she had suffered. She was diagnosed with diabetes in the 1980s and underwent a kidney transplant in 2009. She had the stroke in December 2012.
Sue Townsend is survived by her husband and four children.