Acclaimed fantasy novelist Ursula K. Le Guin has passed away in her home in Portland, Oregon on Monday, Jan. 22. She was 88 years old.
The author's son Theo Downes-Le Guin confirmed her death to New York Times.
While he did not reveal a specific cause of death, he said that his mother has had poor health in the past several months.
The legendary Le Guin is known for her works such as the Earthsea series, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Dispossessed. She wrote over 20 novels that have been translated in over 40 different languages and sold millions of copies all around the world.
Aside from her success in novels, Le Guin also authored a dozen collections of poetry, over 100 short stories published in a number of volumes, seven collections of essays, 13 children's books, and five volumes of translation. Her most recent release is a book of essays titled No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters. It was published in December 2017.
She has won numerous awards over her long career, including the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards for her revolutionary 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness. The renowned fiction tells the story of a desolate perpetually icy planet where gender is not fixed.
When she was awarded the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014, Le Guin delivered a moving speech celebrating fantasy writing and the art of literature as a whole.
"I think hard times are coming," she says. "When we'll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We'll need writers who can remember freedom - poets, visionaries, realists of a larger reality."
Widely considered as a pioneer in the genre, Le Guin published her first novel in 1966 and has since inspired countless of authors including A Song of Ice and Fire series author George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Margaret Atwood, among others.
The first of the Earthsea series, titled The Wizard of Earthsea tells the story of a boy who discovers his ability for magic and goes to wizarding school. Many believe it inspired J.K. Rowling's own take on wizard school, Hogwarts.
A lot of these authors who found inspiration from her works mourned her passing in social media.
I just learned that Ursula K. Le Guin has died. Her words are always with us. Some of them are written on my soul. I miss her as a glorious funny prickly person, & I miss her as the deepest and smartest of the writers, too. Still honoured I got to do this: https://t.co/U4mma5pJMw
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 23, 2018
I am very very sad. What an immense imagination, what a strong and trenchant mind... https://t.co/RfG8uySfmX — Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) January 23, 2018
Usula K. LeGuin, one of the greats, has passed. Not just a science fiction writer; a literary icon. Godspeed into the galaxy.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 23, 2018
Sad news. I dedicated my most recent book to Ursula Le Guin, one of my biggest childhood influences. "Rules change in the Reaches." Rest in peace, Ms. Le Guin.https://t.co/Si3Uxvyv9c — Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood) January 23, 2018
Ursula Le Guin is such an enormous loss. Won't be summarized in a few words, or even many. One aspect: she was, right to the end - to NOW - vital, engaged, necessary, contributing so much. This is an en evening to mourn a giant.
— Guy Gavriel Kay (@guygavrielkay) January 23, 2018
I'll have more to say about Ursula Le Guin's passing, probably tomorrow. But for now, "God damn it" will suffice. — John Scalzi (@scalzi) January 23, 2018
Ursula Le Guin. Always made of fire. World changing genius of a whole lot of realms. I'm glad she existed, and very sorry to see her go.
— Maria DahvanaHeadley (@MARIADAHVANA) January 23, 2018