Mon Oct 5, 2015 5:8PM
 Late Swedish author Henning Mankell (AFP photo)
Late Swedish author Henning Mankell (AFP photo)

Pro-Palestine world-renowned Swedish crime writer and rights activist Henning Mankell has passed away at the age of 67 after a long battle with cancer.

According to his publishing house Leopard, Mankell "died in his sleep” early on Monday in Sweden's southwestern city of Gothenburg.

The late author rose to international fame with his collection of dark novels about the Swedish police inspector Wallander, which the BBC made into a television series.

"Henning Mankell was one of the great Swedish authors of our time, loved by readers in Sweden and all over the world," a statement posted on Leopard’s website said.

"Solidarity with those in need runs through his entire work and manifested itself in action until the very end," it added.

Mankell wrote some 50 novels and many plays and sold over 40 million copies around the world.

Mankell’s Wallander series garnered numerous awards and helped define the Scandinavian genre dubbed Nordic Noir.   

He first revealed he had cancer in January 2014 in a newspaper column. “I had one tumor in the back of my neck and one in my left lung. The cancer could also have spread to other parts of my body," he wrote at the time.

Rights activism

The best-selling Swedish author was part of a 2010 flotilla that tried to break the Israeli blockade on the besieged Gaza Strip and take aid to the coastal enclave.

Mankell said he wanted to create a situation where "Palestinians are not treated like second-class citizens in their own country, a sort of apartheid system."

A Palestinian school girl sits on the ruins of a house destroyed during the 50-day 2014 Israeli war in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya on April 28, 2015.  (AFP photo)

 

Israel imposed an all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade on Gaza in June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. The siege has turned the coastal sliver – home to over 1.8 million Palestinians – into the largest open-air prison in the world.

Mankell also spent a lot of time in Mozambique since the mid-1980s and helped build a village for orphaned children in the African country to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.

He is survived by a widow Eva Bergman, 70, the daughter of Swedish cinema great Ingmar Bergman, and his son Jon who is a film producer.