Clive Cussler, Author of the Dirk Pitt Novels Dies at Age 88

Clive CusslerClive Cussler, the author of the bestselling adventure series Dirk Pitt, passed away on Monday, February 24, at the age of 88. While the cause of death has not been confirmed yet, the author’s wife, Janet Horvath, shared on Twitter,

It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad news that my husband Clive passed away [on] Monday.

It has been a privilege to share in his life.

I want to thank you, his fans and friends, for all the support. He was the kindest most gentle man I ever met. I know, his adventures will continue.

Over the last three decades, Clive Cussler has written close to 100 books in several series mostly focused on adventures surrounding underwater shipwreck discoveries, and his books have sold over 100 million copies in total around the world, and have been translated into over 40 languages across more than 100 countries.

The author’s debut novel, Pacific Vortex, became the first Dirk Pitt story as well, which started one of the bestselling and best-known adventure series written so far.

Raise the Titanic, the 4th Dirk Pitt novel, was made into a movie in 1980 starring Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby, Anne Archer, and Sir Alec Guinness.

Sahara, the 11th Dirk Pitt novel, has also been made into a 2005 movie with Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz as main actors, and it grossed $119 million. It wasn’t a film the author was happy about, as he said “I thought it was just awful,” and that the movie makers tore the heart out of his book.

Clive Cussler was born an only child in 1931 in Aurora, Ill, and he grew up in Alhambra. For two years he studied at Pasadena City College, following which he served as a mechanic and flight engineer during the Korean War.

In 1955 he married Barbara Knight with whom he had three children: Teri, Dirk, and Dayna. Dirk is also the co-author of the last three Clive Cussler books, and he is named after the main character of the Dirk Pitt series. He remained with his wife for over 50 years. After Barbara passed away, eventually he married Janet Horvath, with whom he remained until his death.

In addition to writing books, Clive Cussler, with his expertise in shipwrecks, founded the non-profit National Underwater and Marine Agency, a volunteer foundation dedicated to “preserving our maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey and conservation of shipwreck artifacts”. Over the years, the non-profit organization has found more than 60 important shipwrecks, one of them being the wreck of H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship. The wreck was found in 1995 through an expedition lead by Cussler.

The Friends of Hunley said on Wednesday, “His love of adventure will be missed by all. Today we honor a life well-lived. Godspeed sailor.”

Through his knowledge, he also wrote Sea Hunters, a non-fiction book that the author got a doctorate from the Maritime College in the State of New York for its extensive underwater knowledge.

Clive Cussler leaves behind his second wife, Janet, daughters Teri and Dayna, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His latest novel, Journey of the Pharaohs, co-authored with Graham Brown, is published March 10.

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One Response to “Clive Cussler, Author of the Dirk Pitt Novels Dies at Age 88”

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  1. Cal Desmond-Pearson says:

    Sad news indeed! RIP.

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