Tom Clancy, the best-selling author who created classic characters such as Jack Ryan, passed away at the age of 66 yesterday in a Baltimore, Maryland hospital. Ivan Held, the president of the author's publishing house, G.P. Putnam's Sons, confirmed his passing, although a cause of death was not released at this time.

Tom Clancy was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1947, and was obsessed with naval history at a very young age, spending his childhood reading books and journals intended for much older readers. He graduated from Loyola College in Baltimore in 1969 with a degree in English, and although he wanted to join the armed forces, he couldn't qualify for enlistment because he is nearsighted. He worked at a local insurance agency before publishing his first novel, The Hunt for Red October, in 1985, for which he received just $5,000.

The book exploded in popularity when President Ronald Reagan called it, "my kind of yarn." The author was praised for his knowledge of Soviet submarines and their weapons, even by high-ranking members of the military. The author was often accused of using classified information in his novels, claims that he often laughed off, despite spending time at the Pentagon and several military bases. Here's what the author had to say about that accusation in an interview.

"I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can. I've made up stuff that's turned out to be real, that's the spooky part."

Several of his books were adapted for the big screen, including the Jack Ryan movies The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, starring Harrison Ford, and The Sum Of All Fears starring Ben Affleck. Paramount is rebooting the character this Christmas with Jack Ryan, starring Chris Pine as the title character.

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The author co-founded Red Storm Entertainment in 1996, which has adapted his work into several popular video games, including Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, the video game company that released these games, issued the following statement following Tom Clancy's death.

"We are saddened to learn of Tom Clancy's passing and our condolences go out to his family.Tom Clancy was an extraordinary author with a gift for creating detailed, engrossing fictional stories that captivated audiences around the world.

The teams at Ubisoft, especially at the Red Storm studio, are incredibly grateful to have collaborated with and learned from him, and we are humbled by the opportunity to carry on part of his legacy through our properties that bear his name."

He is survived by his wife, Alexandra Marie Llewellyn. The writer's final novel, Command Authority, will be published in December.