Renowned writer Chinua Achebe dies

Chinua Achebe. (Reuters)

Chinua Achebe. (Reuters)

Twitter was aflutter with rumours that Achebe died on Thursday night at a Boston hospital as fans tweeted tributes to the Nigerian writer on Friday.

It was finally confirmed to the BBC by officials.

Reports said he had been ill for a while and admitted to an undisclosed hospital. The family was reportedly due to release a statement soon.

Achebe is best known for his novel Things Fall Apart, which was published in 1958. The book is considered to be the seminal novel of the African post-colonial literature movement and has been translated into over 50 languages.

In this novel and his other works, including No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987), Achebe drew on Nigerian folklore and oral tradition to tell stories which highlight and illustrate the tensions between Africans and their colonisers. He was often criticised for choosing to publish his work in English, rather than indigenous languages, a decision he defended by describing English as a "universal" language in an otherwise fragmented continent.

He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s where he served as professor of English at the University of Amherst in Massachussets.

He held over 20 honoury doctorates from universities around the world and won the Man Booker prize for outstanding contribution to international literature in 2007.

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