E Lynn Harris, who wrote fiction on black gay relationships, has died aged 54.
The author, who penned works such as A Love of My Own, Abide With Me and the memoir What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, collapsed on a business trip in Los Angeles last Thursday.
His assistant Laura Gilmore told Reuters the reason for his death was not yet known.
Harris wrote his first book, Invisible Life, in 1991. Since then, ten of his novels hit the New York Times’ bestseller lists.
Basketball Jones was published in January, while Gilmore said he planned to release another book in October.
He was born in Flint, Michigan, but later moved to Arkansas. He started his career as a computer salesman.
Harris studied journalism at the University of Arkansas, becoming the first black yearbook editor and the first male black cheerleader.
In a 2006 interview, he said: “It’s difficult for a lot of black men to be honest about” their sexuality. I’m fortunate enough to have a career where I can be who I am and I don’t have to lie about it. I understand that the rest of the world isn’t as accepting. I don’t condone it, but I understand it.”