Beloved writer and New York Times best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey has died. He was 59-years-old.

According to ESSENCE, Dickey’s publicist confirmed the news of his Jan. 3 death. His cousin La Verne Madison Fuller mourned his passing on social media after writing a heartbreaking Facebook post.

Dickey was a celebrated figure in American literature who was responsible for penning several classic books about Black life — including “Sister, Sister,” “Friends & Lovers” and “Between Lovers.”

He was credited for revolutionizing the art of storytelling in the contemporary fiction genre and had over seven million of his books published worldwide.

Dickey — born and raised in Memphis, TN — began writing stories back in 1989, just seven years before he made his literary debut. He also explored work as a comedian and actor, but ultimately decided he wanted to pursue writing as his passion.

Through his work, he was able to fill a void where Black people could finally be seen, and many fans say his writing helped them fall in love with reading.

In a 2000 interview by Alden Mudge, Dickey shared his purpose behind the stories he wrote saying: “I don’t intentionally write a book with an idea of ‘the moral to this story is,’ because I’m more focused on letting the people in the book live. I just try to do my best. I never know if I’ve hit the nail on the head, if it’s really worked, until I put it out there for people to read.”

Dickey was a celebrated literary legend who will be deeply missed.

Rest in peace to Eric Jerome Dickey. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.