Pat Conroy, author of 'Prince of Tides' and 'Great Santini,' dies at 70

Story highlights

  • "The water is wide and he has now passed over," wife says
  • Conroy has said his tortured childhood inspired his novels
  • He wrote 11 books, some of which were adapted into films

(CNN)Pat Conroy, author of "The Prince of Tides" and "The Great Santini," has died.

He was 70.
Conroy died at his home Friday in Beaufort, South Carolina, surrounded by his loved ones, his publisher said. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer.
"The water is wide and he has now passed over," said his wife, novelist Cassandra King Conroy
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley shared her condolences.
"South Carolina lost a beloved son tonight. Pat Conroy will be missed," she said. "We can find comfort knowing his words and love for SC will live on."
One of Conroy's most notable works was his 1986 book, "The Prince of Tides." Five years later, it was adapted into a popular movie featuring Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte, turning the author into a household name.

"The Great Santini,"

With "The Great Santini," Conroy used his tortured childhood to provide material for the book, just as he did in "The Prince of Tides."
"The Great Santini," one of 11 books he wrote, was also adapted into a film featuring Robert Duvall.
It details his disdain for his father, a decorated Marine fighter pilot nicknamed "The Great Santini." He accuses him of terrorizing his children for years with his volatile temper.
"I hated my father long before I knew there was a word for hate," he writes in the book.
Conroy confronted his personal history in the book and interviewed family members and friends -- eventually reconciling with his father.
"It was only when "The Great Santini" was published that he seemed to even take a look at who he was," he told CNN in 2013.
Conroy's books have sold millions of copies worldwide and include "The Boo," "The Water is Wide," "The Lords of Discipline, " and "Beach Music."
Nan A. Talese of Doubleday, his longtime editor and publisher, said they have known each other for decades.
"Pat has been my beloved friend and author for 35 years," Talese said. "He will be cherished as one of America's favorite and bestselling writers, and I will miss him terribly."