(Reuters) – E.L. Doctorow, the author of popular novels grounded in American history including Ragtime and Billy Bathgate, has died at age 84, his publisher said on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the Random House Publishing Group gave no further details but the New York Times, citing the writer’s son Richard, said Doctorow died in New York on Tuesday of complications from lung cancer.
“E.L. Doctorow was one of America’s greatest novelists. His books taught me much, and he will be missed,” President Barack Obama said in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.
“Through books of great beauty and power, and characters I’ll never forget, he showed us America’s great flaws and its astonishing promise, and our own,” Kate Medina, Doctorow’s editor at Random House, said in a written statement.
“Edgar was fun, even as he was holding all of us to the high standards he set for himself. To be with him was to be at one’s best; to read him was to discover, again and again, the joy of reading a master,” Medina said.
According to the publishing house, Doctorow was born in New York in 1931 and named after American writer Edgar Allen Poe.
During his long career he was awarded the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Awards, and two PEN Faulkner Awards, among other honors.
(Reporting by Peter Cooney in Washington and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Eric Beech and Edmund Klamann)