Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, has died aged 66 after a "courageous and private battle against cancer", his family has said.
He penned the books Congo, Twister and the popular Jurassic Park trilogy, all of which were adapted into films.
His books have sold more than 150 million copies. He also created the long-running US hospital drama ER.
"He will be profoundly missed by those whose lives he touched," his family said in a statement.
A private funeral service is expected.
Crichton is survived by wife Sherri and daughter Taylor.
The family's statement paid tribute to a "devoted husband, loving father and generous friend".
It added: "Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand."
A Harvard Medical School graduate, Crichton became the toast of Hollywood when his 1971 novel The Andromeda Strain was turned into a film.
Many of his novels and screenplays were adapted for cinema.
The most successful were the Jurassic Park trilogy, the first of which burst onto the screen in 1993, directed by Steven Spielberg.
ER has won a host of Emmys since it began in 1994, and helped launch the career of George Clooney.