The Horse Whisperer author Nicholas Evans has died aged 72

Nicholas Evans, the author of The Horse Whisperer, has died at the age of 72.

A statement from his literary agency said the novelist, screenwriter and journalist died on Tuesday August 9 following a heart attack.

It read: “United Agents are very sad to announce the sudden death of the celebrated best-selling author Nicholas Evans who died suddenly on Tuesday … following a heart attack, aged 72.”

Published in 1995, The Horse Whisperer was Evans’ debut novel and follows a complex and talented trainer who is hired to help an injured teenager and her horse back to health after a severe injury.

Author Nicholas Evans, who has died after suffering a heart attack Pic: T Lappin

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It sold more than 15 million copies and became the year’s 10th bestselling novel in the US.

The story was adapted for the big screen in 1998 by Hollywood actor Robert Redford, who starred as the title character, with Scarlett Johansson playing young rider Grace MacLean in her breakout role.

Kristin Scott Thomas starred as her mother, Annie, while Sam Neill played her father, Robert.

Born in 1950 in Worcestershire, Evans was educated at Bromsgrove School before reading law at Oxford.

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During the 1970s he worked as a journalist on the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle upon Tyne before moving into broadcasting media.

He specialised in US politics and foreign affairs and spent time covering the war in Beirut

By the 1980s he was at London Weekend Television, producing films on Sir Laurence Olivier, Francis Bacon and David Hockney for The South Bank Show.

After developing his skills as a screenwriter with projects starring Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Sir Ian Holm and more, he began work on his debut novel, The Horse Whisperer.

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Dell Publishing agreed to pay 3.15 million US dollars (£2.1 million at the time) for the North American rights to the film.

His other works include The Loop (1998), The Smoke Jumper (2001), The Divide (2005) and The Brave (2010).

In 2008, Evans fell ill after cooking and eating poisonous mushrooms picked in local woodland while staying with his wife, Charlotte, at her brother’s estate in Scotland.

Evans and his wife, along with her brother Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming and his wife Lady Louisa, were transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where they were treated with dialysis and other kidney treatments.

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