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Best Selling Author Tom Clancy Has Died

Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Tom Clancy, a prolific writer famous for his best sellers about espionage and the military, has died at 66, ABC News has confirmed.

A statement from his publisher, Penguin, said he died Tuesday in Baltimore.  A cause of death was not listed.

Clancy, a Baltimore native who joined R.O.T.C. in college but had to drop out because of his poor eyesight, worked at an insurance agency before turning his passion -- writing -- into a full-time job.  He published his first book, The Hunt for Red October, in 1984.  The film was later turned into a film, starring Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery.  Several of Clancy's books were also turned into movies.

According to Clancy, this was the job he was always meant to do.

As a child, ''I never read kids' books,'' he told New York Times magazine in 1988.  ''At least not the usual kids' books.  I remember reading Jules Verne in the third grade. I started on Samuel Eliot Morrison in the fourth or fifth grade -- he started me on military history.  I read a lot of science fiction.  I read every genre you can imagine.''

According to the profile, Clancy earned $1.3 million for his first book, and inked a $3 million contract for his next three books, Red Storm Rising, Patriot Games and The Cardinal of the Kremlin.

He would go on to write many other books, including Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears, and reportedly lent his name to a series of scripts written by others about the military.

In 1996, he co-founded Red Storm Entertainment, which developed video games based on his military expertise.

Clancy leaves behind four children from his first marriage and a wife, Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, whom he married in 1999.

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