Author Peter Matthiessen has passed away at the age of 86.

The New Yorker lost his battle with leukaemia on Saturday (05Apr14), just three days before his latest novel, In Paradise, was due to be released.

Matthiessen's most notable works include Shadow Country and At Play in the Fields of the Lord, which was transformed into a film starring John Lithgow and Daryl Hannah in 1991.

He was also a dedicated environmentalist and adventurer, releasing several non-fiction books about his travels, including The Snow Leopard, an acclaimed tome about his search for the elusive big cat.