Acclaimed writer Sidney Sheldon has died aged 89.

Sheldon is known as one of the most prolific writers of our time, having written hits for the theatre, film, television and most recently, his best-selling novels.

He died at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Florida after suffering complications from pneumonia, leaving behind his wife Alexandra, daughter Mary Sheldon and two grandchildren.

"I've lost a long time and dear friend," said his publicist Warren Cowan. "In all my years in this business, I've never heard an unkind word said about him."

Starting his career as a script reader for major production houses in Hollywood, Sheldon's talents soon saw him writing and producing his own works. He career saw him write 25 films, and many hit shows, including the popular I Dream of Jeannie.

His best-selling novels made their mark after he hit his 50th birthday. His books, which included the best-seller The Other Side of Midnight, sold over 300 million copies and saw many of his titles turned into TV mini-series.

Sheldon's novels were often based on women who triumphed in the world of men, making them a popular read with both sexes.

"I like to write about women who are talented and capable, but most important, retain their femininity. Women have tremendous power  their femininity, because men can't do without it," he once said.

31/01/2007 07:52:58