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Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell dies aged 67: publisher

Swedish crime author and Africa specialist Henning Mankell has died at the age of 67, according to his Munich-based publishing house Hanser. He was diagnosed last year with cancer.

Mankell passed away peacefully at his home in Gothenburg early on Monday as the result of his long illness, Hanser said.

Mankell's oeuvre included "Wallander," a book-turned film series about a brooding police commissioner, and Mankell's three-decade role as founding director of the Portuguese-language theater Teatro Avenid in Maputo and childrens' books.

Maputo Teatro Avenida

Mankell wrote for the stage in Portuguese

Mozambique became Mankell's chosen second homeland and prompted books such as the "Son of the wind," a translation in English published in German in 2001 as "Die Rote Antilope.".

It tells the story about a 19th century Swedish entomologist who tries to introduce a Kalahari boy, Molo, to European society, with tragic consequences.

'Life's school' at sea

In his youth, Mankell left school aged 15 to become a merchant seaman. He later described this phase as his "life's school." In 1966, he arrived in Paris where he later experienced student protests.

During a return to Sweden from Mozambique, the avowed left-winger took on racism in his writings. He once said that society's contradictions "become clear when you write about crime."

In 2010, he took part in an aid flotilla bound for Gaza. Israeli troops intercepted the boats, killing nine pro-Palestinian activists. Mankell was sent back to Sweden.

Cancer like quicksand

In his most recently published work, Mankell compared his cancer diagnosis to being caught in quicksand. His work deals with the themes of hope, anxiety and impending death.

Mankell's life's work, comprised of some 40 novels and numerous theater scripts, was translated into more than 40 languages. Sales of his books reached 40 million copies.

In September last year, Mankell told readers of the British newspaper The Guardian: "I don’t know how long I shall survive, having been smitten with this disease ... It has not robbed me of my joy at being alive, or my curiosity about what tomorrow has in store."

Mankell leaves his third wife Eva Bergman, 70, the daughter of Swedish cinema great Ingmar Bergman, and his son Jon.

ipj/msh (AFP, dpa, epd)

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