Henning Mankell, Swedish Author of 'Wallander' Book Series, Dies at 67

Henning Mankell

The writer, whose crime series was adapted for TV, had been suffering from cancer.

Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell, best known for his series of crime novels involving the character of Inspector Kurt Wallander that were adapted into a successful BBC TV series starring Kenneth Branagh, has died. He was 67.

Leopard, the publisher which Mankell co-founded in 2001, announced the news on its web site on Monday. The writer had been suffering from cancer, revealing that he had the illness in a newspaper column last year and describing the experience in the book "Quicksand: What It Means To Be A Human Being."

Mankell's novels have sold in excess of 40 million copies and been translated into 40 languages, according to Leopard. His Wallander series, about a detective in Sweden's southern province of Skane, was first adapted for Swedish TV in 2005 with Krister Henriksson in the title role. The English-language version starring Branagh first aired on the BBC in 2008, going on to win six BAFTA TV awards, including for  best drama. The fourth and final season has yet to air.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter earlier in the year, Branagh said that he talked to Mankell about finishing Wallander and that the writer was "tremendously unsentimental" about it coming to an end.

"He gives it a finish as only he could, one that is both perfectly in the spirit of what he’s done before but also a dark, bracing Swedish ending," he said.

A prominent and long-standing activist, Mankell had been a outspoken opponent of Israel's treatment of Palestinians and had been aboard one of the boats in the flotilla trying to break the siege of Gaza in 2010. He likened the Israeli Separation Barrier to the Berlin Wall.

Mankell leaves behind his wife, director Eva Bergman, and son Jon Mankell.