Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih, one of the Arab world's most respected novelists, has died in London at the age of 80.

Friends say Salih passed away late Tuesday.  The Sudan Tribune newspaper reports the cause of death was complications from a kidney condition.

Salih gained fame with his 1966 novel Season of Migration to the North, about a Sudanese man's experiences with colonialism, life and love.

The Sudanese government in the 1990s attacked the novel as pornographic.  However, in 2001, the Damascus-based Arab Literary Academy declared the book the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century.

Salih was born in 1929 in the northern Sudanese town of Marawi but spent much of his adult life living in Europe. 

He worked for the BBC's Arabic service and for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.