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Best Selling US Author Tom Clancy Dies at 66

Best selling American author Tom Clancy, whose spy and military thrillers fascinated readers and inspired numerous Hollywood movies and video games, has died at the age of 66.

U.S. media reports say Clancy died Tuesday at a hospital in Baltimore.

His 20 novels, including "The Hunt for Red October," "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," painted detailed stories of the world of spies, soldiers and politicians. His next book, "Command Authority," is planned for publication on December 3.

Clancy's recurring themes included the Cold War, narcotics trafficking and a disintegrating Soviet Union.

The 1984 publication of "The Hunt For Red October," the fictional tale of a defecting Soviet Navy officer along with his submarine, earned Clancy a reputation for detailed, high tech knowledge, especially of submarine capabilities in the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Even high-ranking members of the military took notice of the book's apparent inside knowledge.

The 1991 best-seller, "The Sum of All Fears," revolved around the possibility of a nuclear device falling into the hands of terrorists.

Tom Clancy was an insurance salesman before turning to fiction writing full time. He was born in 1947, the second child of a Baltimore, Maryland postman.

The novelist lived with his wife and four children in a custom made home alongside the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.