American author Cormac McCarthy has died aged 89, his agent confirmed. He died at home on Tuesday of natural causes.

His 2005 novel, No Country for Old Men, was turned into an Oscar-winning movie starring Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin. Directed by the Coen Brothers, it was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture. The Road was adapted into a 2009 movie starring Viggo Mortensen. The novel earned McCarthy a 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – one of the literary world’s highest honors.

Cormac McCarthy was born one of six siblings in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1933 to an Irish Catholic family. He spent most of his childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee, where his father worked as a lawyer. He dropped out of the University of Tennessee and joined the US air force for four years before returning to university, where he dropped out again and decided to start a career as a novelist.

McCarthy’s career spanned nearly 60 years, penning multiple novels, screenplays, and short stories in the Western and post-apocalyptic genres.

He published his first novel The Orchard Keeper in 1965 whilst working in a Chicago car parts shop. Although he would go on to write several books throughout the 1970s, his work would not be recognized until 1985’s Blood Meridan. It was not until 1992 that McCarthy found true acclaim. His novel All The Pretty Horses, the first volume of his successful The Border Trilogy, was a New York Times bestseller. It sold over 190,000 copies in hardback within the first six months of publication.

McCarthy’s last two books – The Passenger and Stella Maris – were published at the end of last year.  The author married three times and lived in Spain and Texas before settling in New Mexico; where he lived for over 30 years. Despite his success and brush with Hollywood, McCarthy was notoriously private and rarely gave interviews. “I don’t think [interviews] are good for your head,” he told Oprah Winfrey in 2007, in a rare on-screen interview.

“If you spend a lot of time thinking about how to write a book, you probably shouldn’t be thinking about it. You probably should be doing it.”

Following the announcement of McCarthy’s death, author Stephen King described him as “maybe the greatest American novelist of my time”.

“He was full of years and created a fine body of work, but I still mourn his passing,” he tweeted.

Cormac Mcarthy is survived by his sons Cullen and John.