Crime author Peter Temple has passed away at the age of 71, following a six-month battle with cancer.
The award-winning author, who was the first crime writer to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award, died at his home in Ballarat on Thursday, leaving behind his wife Anita and son Nicholas.
Notoriously private, he kept his health troubles quiet, but was diagnosed with the disease six months ago – a few years after first his first cancer battle.
Temple was well known across the world for his four Jack Irish novels, with long-running characters making a return in each book. They were later transformed into a TV series starring Guy Pearce.
Paying tribute to the writer, Pearce wrote on Twitter after hearing the news: “My sincerest condolences to Peter Temple’s family and friends. It’s truly an honour to play one of your most beloved creations. Thank you for all the colourful characters you’ve introduced me to and the dark paths you’ve led me down. Respect and Peace PT…..xxx.”
My sincerest condolences to Peter Temple's family and friends. It's truly an honour to play one of your most beloved creations. Thank you for all the colourful characters you've introduced me to and the dark paths you've led me down. Respect and Peace PT…..xxx
— Guy Pearce (@TheGuyPearce) March 11, 2018
Temple was also the first Australian to win the British crime writers’ association’s Gold Dagger award, with his book The Broken Shore in 2007. He won the Miles Franklin award for his follow up, Truth, in 2010. It is believed he was working on the third book in the series before his death, although it’s unclear whether it was left finished or incomplete.
Crime writer Michael Robotham remembered Temple on Twitter, and shared his shock at the news, writing: “Gutted by this news today. One of the crime writing greats has gone. Vale Peter Temple – we won’t see his like…”
He called him a “beautiful writer” and told the Sydney Morning Herald: “‘I will never forget when my first novel came out and I appeared on stage with Peter at the Brisbane Writers festival. The first question to him from an audience member asked what books should she read? He turned to me and said ‘you should be reading Michael’s first book; it’s the best debut in a decade’. He was tremendously supportive and he didn’t have to be.’’
Meanwhile, text publisher Michael Heyward remembered him as “a defining writer for us”, according to The Australian.
Temple was originally from South Africa and came to Australia in 1980, where he remained for the rest of his life.