Bestselling and prolific author Bryce Courtenay has lost his battle with stomach cancer.

The South African-born writer passed away on Friday (23Nov12) at his home in Canberra.

He penned a total of 21 books, including The Persimmon Tree and The Power of One. His final work, Jack of Diamonds, was published earlier this month (Nov12).

Courtenay's 1989 bestseller The Power of One was adapted for the big screen - the film starred Morgan Freeman.

He became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995 and was also honoured with a postage stamp after being named an Australia Post Literary Legend.

Aussie Prime Minister Julia Gillard paid tribute to the writer hours after his death, stating, "Bryce Courtenay is such a well known name to Australians and much loved... He has delighted Australians and people around the world with his story telling."