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Swedish author Henning Mankell, best known for a series of mystery novels starring his most famous creation, Inspector Kurt Wallander, has died at the age of 67.

The crime writer revealed he had cancer in a newspaper column in 2014.

Henning Mankell dealt with the experience in his most recent book Quicksand: What It Means To Be A Human Being.

His best-selling mystery novels, which follow policeman Kurt Wallander through Sweden and Mozambique, were turned into a TV drama starring Kenneth Branagh.

The original, Swedish version of the drama starred Krister Henriksson in the title role.

Born in February 1948, Henning Mankell wrote dozens of plays, novels, children’s books and screenplays. But it was for his Wallander series that he was most renowned.Henning Mankell dead at 67

The rumpled and gloomy detective got his name when Henning Mankell ran his finger through a telephone directory, but went on to sell more than 40 million books.

Kurt Wallander first appeared in 1989’s Faceless Killers, investigating a murder in which the only clue is that the perpetrators appear to have been foreigners. When that information was leaked to the public, it triggered a series of racially-motivated attacks in Sweden.

At first, the author was unaware he had created a recurring character, “but then I realized after two or three novels that I had this… instrument who could be useful”.

Henning Mankell divided his time between Sweden and Mozambique, where he ran a theatre company and devoted time to the fight against AIDS.

He was active in the “memory books” project, which encourages parents with HIV to record their stories, not just for their children but for future generations.

Shortly after New Year 2014, Henning Mankell went to see an orthopedic surgeon in Stockholm with what he assumed was a slipped disc. But tests revealed a tumor in his lung, another in his neck, and evidence the cancer had spread throughout his body.

“It was a catastrophe for me. Everything that was normal to me up to that point was gone all of a sudden. No one had died of cancer in my family. I had always assumed I’d die of something else.” He told NPR in 2014

Henning Mankell leaves behind his wife of 17 years, Eva Bergman, the daughter of Ingmar Bergman’s second wife, the dancer Ellen Lundstrom.