Conroy passed away on Friday (04Mar16) at his home in Beaufort, South Carolina, surrounded by his loved ones, less than three weeks after revealing he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

A statement issued by his wife Cassandra to Variety.com reads, "The water is wide and he has now passed over."

The author broke the news of his health crisis with fans via Facebook last month (Feb16).

"I have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer," he wrote. "With the help of the wonderful people at M.D. Anderson (Cancer Centre in Houston, Texas), I intend to fight it hard.

"I am grateful to all my beloved readers, my friends and my family for their prayers. I owe you a novel and intend to deliver it."

It is not known if Conroy completed his final planned work.

He was known for writing The Prince of Tides, which was made into a critically-acclaimed movie in 1991 starring Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand. The film, directed by Streisand, detailed a man's struggle to overcome the psychological damage inflicted by his dysfunctional childhood in South Carolina. Conroy often drew from his own childhood experiences for his novels subject matters.

He also found literary success with The Great Santini, which was adapted for the big screen in the 1979 movie of the same name, starring Robert Duvall and Blythe Danner.

His other titles included Beach Music and South of Broad.