Jack Whyte

Jack Whyte, a best-selling author of historical fiction, has died in Kelowna at age 80.

Popular Kelowna-based author Jack Whyte, whose 17 best-selling books of historical fiction have been translated into more than 20 languages, has died.

He was 80 years old.

"He dabbled in all sorts of things over the years and he was great at all of them," his step-daughter Holly Martin said Tuesday.

Whyte, who had been battling cancer, passed away Monday night at Kelowna Hospice House. A celebration of his life will be held later this year, Martin said.

Born in Scotland, Whyte moved to Canada in 1967 and had lived in Kelowna for the past 25 years.

He was the author of 'A Dream of Eagles', a series of historical novels set in post-Roman Britain centred around the legend of King Arthur. The series was published in many languages, including German, French, Russian, Spanish and Portugese.

Whyte also wrote 'The Templar Trilogy' and 'The Guardians of Scotland', which are also multi-book series.

By 2011, Whyte's books had sold more than 1.25 million copies just in Canada.

He was also an actor, poet, singer, and orator, according to a biography of Whyte on the website of Penguin Random House Canada, his long-time publisher.

Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series of books, tweeted that Whyte was "a wonderful writer, fantastic singer, a generous, funny Scotsman with a lot of love for the world".

In a 2018 interview with The Daily Courier (a publication for which he also contributed a regular column), Whyte reflected on his passion for research and what he believed were the reasons for his worldwide success as a writer of historical fiction.

"I've gone looking for legends and tried to strip away all the accumulated crap of the centuries and uncover what it was originally that made this story and these people so great," he said.

In the interview, conducted after Whyte's first battle with cancer, he said was looking forward to writing many more books: "Too many ideas," he said. "Not enough time."