Australian author Bryce Courtenay dies of cancer

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian best-selling author Bryce Courtenay has died of stomach cancer. He was 79.

His publisher Penguin Group said Friday that the South African-born writer died at his family home in the Australian capital Canberra late Thursday surrounded by his family and pets.

Courtenay had a successful career in advertising before writing his first novel, "The Power of One," which was published in 1989 when he was 56. The story became a movie starring Morgan Freeman.

His 21st novel, "Jack of Diamonds," was published this month.

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