Legendary science fiction author Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died at the age of 90 at his home in Sri Lanka.

Clarke, who wrote more than 100 books during his lifetime, died early yesterday morning from respiratory failure.

Although Clarke was never open about his sexuality, he has long been believed to be one of the most prominent gay writers of the last century.

Clarke was perhaps most famous to the mainstream public for his co-authoring with Stanley Kubrick of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Over his vast career, Clarke authored more than 100 fiction and non-fiction books, most revolving around the exploration of space and the technology of the future.

Some of his more well-known books include Childhood’s End, Rendezvous with Rama and The Songs of Distant Earth.

Clarke’s writing often included characters with implied fluid sexuality and his “Firstborn” series, co-authored with Stephen Baxter, was notable for featuring a lead gay character.

Over the years, Clarke won nearly every major science fiction writing award in existence, including three Nebula Awards and several Hugo Awards.

He was also named as a Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Clarke’s work was influential to many of the greats in science and science fiction, including astronomer Carl Sagan, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and several American astronauts.

He was knighted by the Queen in 1998.

Although he was married in 1953 to a divorcee with a young son, the marriage only lasted six months, though the official divorce was not finalised until 1964.

Clarke was long believed to be gay and was asked numerous times about his sexuality by the press.

However, Clarke always answered the question by saying a variation of, “No, merely mildly cheerful.”

Clark suffered from crippling effects of post-polio syndrome for much of his life and seldom traveled far from his home in Sri Lanka in his later years.

He spent much of his later life living with his business partner, Hector Ekanayake and his wife, and acted as a second grandfather to the couple’s three daughters.

More about Clarke’s private life and inner thoughts will likely eventually be revealed in the future with the publication of the “Clarkives,” a vast collection of private writings to be released to the public 50 years after his death.

Ann Turner © 2008 GayWired.com; All Rights Reserved.