By Danika Fears, TODAY
Tom Clancy, prolific author of military thrillers that turned into box office gold with movies such as "The Hunt for Red October" and "Clear and Present Danger," has died on Oct. 1 at the age of 66 in Baltimore, Md., his publisher Penguin Group confirmed in a statement Wednesday morning.
"I'm deeply saddened by Tom's passing. He was a consummate author, creating the modern-day thriller, and was one of the most visionary storytellers of our time," executive David Shanks said in the statement. "I will miss him dearly and he will be missed by tens of millions of readers worldwide."
Born in Baltimore, Md., in 1947, Clancy rose to prominence as a writer with his Soviet-era novel "The Hunt for Red October." His thrillers were mainly concerned with espionage and military tactics during the Cold War.
The author penned 17 number 1 bestselling novels throughout his career. Jack Ryan, a patriotic CIA analyst-cum-politician, was the star of 12 of those books, and his fictional career reflected many of the changes in American foreign policy during the last three decades. The character was made even more famous through on-screen portrayals by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck.
Clancy's latest book, the techno-thriller "Command Authority," is due to hit bookshelves on Dec. 3.