English author Sue Townsend has died at the age of 68.

The novelist, best known for writing the Adrian Mole books, passed away after a short illness on Thursday (10Apr14).

Over the past decade, Townsend was hit with a number of medical problems - she lost her sight in 2001 after complications from diabetes, and she underwent a kidney transplant in 2009 and suffered a stroke in 2012.

She earned worldwide acclaim in 1982 when the first of her book series, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4, was published.

She went on to write eight more books in the comedic series and the final instalment, Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years was released in 2009.

Townsend revealed that she was planning a ninth sequel but the publication was delayed due to her stroke.

The Adrian Mole diaries have sold more than eight million copies, were translated into nearly 30 languages, and have spawned Tv and stage adaptations.

Actor Stephen Mangan, who played Mole in the Tv series, took to Twitter.com to share his condolences, writing, "Greatly upset to hear that Sue Townsend has died. One of the warmest, funniest and wisest people I ever met."

Townsend, who also wrote popular novel The Queen and I, is survived by her second husband Colin Broadway and her four children, Sean, Daniel, Victoria and Elizabeth.