Nicholas Evans, the author of The Horse Whisperer, has died at the age of 72.
A statement from his literary agency said the novelist, screenwriter and journalist suffered a heart attack.
Published in 1995, The Horse Whisperer was Evans’ debut novel and follows a complex and talented trainer hired to help an injured teenager and her horse back to health after a severe injury.
It sold more than 15 million copies and became the year’s tenth bestselling novel in the United States.
The story was adapted for the big screen in 1998 by Hollywood actor Robert Redford, who starred as the title character, with Scarlett Johansson, in her breakout role, playing young rider Grace MacLean.
Kristin Scott Thomas starred as her mother, Annie, while Sam Neill played her father, Robert.
Born in 1950 in Worcestershire, Evans was educated at Bromsgrove School before reading law at Oxford.
During the 1970s he worked as a journalist on the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle upon Tyne before moving into broadcasting media.
Evans specialised in US politics and foreign affairs and spent time covering the war in Beirut
By the 1980s he was at London Weekend Television, producing films on Sir Laurence Olivier, Francis Bacon and David Hockney for The South Bank Show.
After developing his skills as a screenwriter with projects starring Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Sir Ian Holm and more, he began work on his debut novel, The Horse Whisperer. Dell Publishing agreed to pay £2.1 million for the North American rights to the film.
His other works include The Loop (1998), The Smoke Jumper (2001), The Divide (2005) and The Brave (2010).
In 2008 Evans fell ill after cooking and eating poisonous mushrooms picked in local woodland while staying with his wife, Charlotte, at her brother’s estate in Scotland.
Evans and his wife, along with her brother Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming and his wife Lady Louisa, were transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where they were treated with dialysis and other kidney treatments.
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