The celebrated writer penned a number of best-selling works

By Alexis L. Loinaz
Updated October 02, 2013 10:50 AM
Credit: Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage

Tom Clancy, the espionage writer whose novels featuring protagonist Jack Ryan made him one of the genre’s best-selling authors, has died. He was 66.

Clancy passed away Tuesday night at a hospital in Baltimore, multiple reports confirm.

Clancy, who was born in Baltimore, went on to write a string of best-selling novels, including The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger – all of which were adapted into blockbuster films.

In a vaunted career that spanned almost 30 years, the scribe sold over 50 million books, swiftly earning a reputation as one of the premiere storytellers of military and espionage thrillers.

Clancy began his career as an insurance broker before striking it out as an author in 1984 with his debut novel, The Hunt for Red October.

That book introduced a character who would become a mainstay in Clancy’s body of work: Jack Ryan, the fearless CIA operative whose white-knuckle adventures would unfold in subsequent Clancy novels, from The Sum of All Fears to Executive Orders, among others.

The character would eventually be played onscreen by a string of A-list actors who headlined a slew of high-profile movie adaptations, including Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, and Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears.

At the time of Clancy’s death, Paramount Pictures was working on a reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise, Jack Ryan: Shadow One, starring Chris Pine and directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Clancy, who was a part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles, founded the video-game company Red Storm Entertainment in 1996. His last novel, Command Authority, is scheduled to be released on Dec. 3.