Clive Cussler, best-selling author and adventurist, dies at 88

Best-selling novelist Clive Cussler, who wrote more than 85 books and sold more than 100 million copies, died Monday at his home in Scottsdale Arizona, The New York Times reported. He was 88.

Cussler’s death was confirmed by Penguin Random House, his publisher. No cause of death was given.

Cussler’s wife, Janet Horvath, also posted the announcement of his death Wednesday on Facebook

Cussler created the popular Dirk Pitt character for many of his novels, taking his last name from the author’s son, The Arizona Republic reported.

In addition, Cussler discovered more than 60 shipwreck sites, the newspaper reported.

Cussler’s novels kept readers entranced with tales of suspense, the Times reported. He wrote about Mayan jungles, ghost ships, underwater kingdoms, beautiful women and heroes modeled after himself for more than four decades, according to the newspaper.

His books were translated into 40 languages and cracked the New York Times’ best-seller lists more than 20 times. He amassed an estimated $80 million during his career, the Times reported.

Cussler was born in Aurora, Illinois, on July 15, 1931, and grew up in Alhambra, California, according to the Times. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he worked in advertising, as a copywriter and as a creative director, the Republic reported.

Cussler’s first big novel was “Raise the Titanic!” which was published in 1976. It was made into a movie, like many of his books, according to the Republic. Other books of note include “Valhalla Rising” (2001), and “The Sea Hunters,” published in 1996.

Cussler first created the National Underwater and Marine Agency as a fictional government organization that employed Dirk Pitt, the Times reported. It became a real agency in 1979, a nonprofit group committed to “preserving maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey and conservation of shipwreck artifacts,” the Times reported.