Bestselling writer Arthur Hailey dies at 84

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The Independent Culture

Arthur Hailey, the Luton-born writer who published 11 bestsellers during a career spanning nearly five decades has died at his home in the Bahamas. He was 84.

Hailey wrote several bestselling thrillers and had books published in 40 countries in 38 languages with 170 editions in print.

Among his most famous books was the 1968 novel Airport , in which a bomber boards a flight. It paved the way for a string of disaster films in the 1970s.

His wife, Sheila, said yesterday he had died in his sleep on Wednesday night from a suspected stroke shortly after having dinner with two of his six children at his home in Lyford Cay on New Providence Island.

Hailey, born in 1920 in Luton, did not attend school beyond 14 as his parents were unable to pay for further education.

After serving as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, he moved to Canada in 1947. He began to write television screenplays before completing his first novel, The Final Diagnosis , which tells the tale of a hospital pathologist, was published in 1959.