HARARE (AFP).- Zimbabwean revered and internationally celebrated novelist and poet Charles Mungoshi has died aged 71, after a long illness, his family said on Saturday.
"He had been ill for 10 years, from a neurological condition to which he succumbed this morning at Parirenyatwa Hospital (in Harare)," the family said in a statement.
He published 18 books including "Coming of the Dry Season", a 1972 collection of short stories which was banned under colonial rule in the then Rhodesia.
His novel "Waiting for the Rain" 1975 won him the International PEN Award.
Twice he won the Commonwealth Writers Prize of Best Book in Africa and also received the Noma Award for Writing from Africa four times.
His works included novels, plays, poetry and short story collections in English and his native Shona language.
Some of his works have been translated into various languages including German, Russian and Japanese.
His Shona novel "Ndiko Kupindana Kwamazuva", loosely meaning how time passes, was translated into French.
In 2011, one of his poems was on permanent display at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle.
He was also a stage actor, literary editor and translator.
"Zimbabwe has lost a great writer. He was a writer of integrity and sensitivity who understood the weight of words," his publisher Irene Staunton of Weaver Press, told AFP.
Born in the southern rural farming region of Chivhu on December 2, 1947, Mungoshi is survived by his wife Jejesi and five children.
© Agence France-Presse