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Arthur Hailey dead at 84

British-born author Arthur Hailey whose books such as Airport, Hotel and Wheels inspired disaster movies of the 1970s has died

at his home in the Bahamas aged 84, his family said on Thursday.

Hailey’s books were published in 40 countries and sold more than 170-million copies.

Hailey’s wife Sheila said the writer died in his sleep on Wednesday night at their home on Providence island in the Bahamas and that doctors believed he had suffered a stroke.

”He had a wonderful life. Writing books was all he wanted and he got enormous pleasure from the pleasure he gave others,” she said.

Born on April 5 1920, Hailey left school at 14 but served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

Hailey moved to Canada in 1947 and was a salesman for a truck maker. But he quit that job to write television scripts.

His literary breakthrough came with his 1968 book Airport which was turned into the movie of the same name starring Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin.

A series of disaster movies copying Hailey’s theme followed over the next decade.

He wrote 11 books in all, also including Strong Medicine, The Final Diagnosis and Overload.

Hailey’s body is to be cremated this weekend in the Bahamas, his family said. – Sapa-AFP

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