Sue Townsend dead: Adrian Mole 'Secret Diary' author dies at her home, aged 68

The cherished British writer was surrounded by loved ones when she passed away at her home in Leicester

Jenn Selby
Friday 11 April 2014 14:10 BST

Sue Townsend, the best-selling author of the Adrian Mole books, has died aged 68.

The cherished British writer was surrounded by loved ones when she passed away at her home in Leicester.

"Sue passed away on Thursday night," a friend of the family confirmed in a statement.

"She was with her family. She'd been very ill recently - she'd suffered a stroke - and succumbed to that illness."

Townsend, a passionate socialist who was left blind due to the complications of her diabetes, achieved worldwide success for her book series about the teenager Adrian Mole, who battles haphazardly through adolescence under Margaret Thatcher’s government and, in later books, struggles to come to terms with maturity when Tony Blair is the Prime Minister.

The first novel, Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾, was published in 1982. She followed the success of her debut diary with seven sequel novels, which went on to sell more than 8million copies.

Adrian Mole has been translated into nearly 30 different languages, and has been adapted for TV and for the stage.

"Greatly upset to hear that Sue Townsend has died," he said. "One of the warmest, funniest and wisest people I ever met."

Townsend, who also wrote non-fiction, plays and other novels, including 1992 best-seller The Queen And I, started her career after winning a Thames Television playwrighting bursary.

She leaves behind a husband, Colin Broadway, and her four children, Sean, Daniel, Victoria and Elizabeth.

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