Clive Cussler, Author of Best-Sellers Like ‘Raise the Titanic,’ Dies at 88

Matthew McConaughey starred in 2005 adaptation of author’s “Sahara”

Clive Cussler, the best-selling author of suspense and adventure novels such as “Sahara” and “Raise the Titanic,” died in his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Monday. He was 88.

His wife confirmed his passing on Twitter on Wednesday. No cause of death was given.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news that my husband Clive passed away Mon. It has been a privilege to share in his life. I want to thank you his fans & friends for all the support. He was the kindest most gentle man I ever met. I know, his adventures will continue,” his wife said in a tweet.

Cussler’s novel “Sahara” was adapted into a 2005 film starring Matthew McConaughey that grossed $119 million worldwide. As in that story, many of his novels revolved around the adventures of Dirk Pitt through the desert, the Mayan jungle, through undersea kingdoms and more. He’d land on the New York Times best-seller list over 20 times on the backs of those stories with more than 100 million copies of his books sold.

Born in Aurora, Illinois and raised in Alhambra, California, Cussler began his literary career in 1965 with the books “The Mediterranean Caper” and “Iceberg,” the first two Dirk Pitt books. But his career took off with “Raise the Titanic!,” which helped establish his adventurous nature with a blend of big, broad supervillains, beautiful women and advanced technology. His book “Raise the Titanic!” was adapted into a film in 1980 starring Richard Jordan and Jason Robards.

But Cussler had an adventurous spirit of his own, founding NUMA, the National Underwater and Marine Agency. Through the organization, Cussler personally served as an underwater diver and explorer and visited over 60 shipwreck locations. NUMA tracked down the cargo of the 19th-century American merchant ship the Mary Celeste, and he likewise gave the name NUMA to the fictional government organization that employs Dirk Pitt in his books.

In all Cussler has written more than 85 books across several series, including The NUMA Files, the Oregon Files, the Isaac Bell adventures, the Fargo adventures and even several non-fiction books about sea exploration. His book “Journey of the Pharaohs” from the NUMA Files is due out for release on March 3.

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