Clifford Irving, the US novelist who went to prison after his claim to have collaborated on an autobiography of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes was exposed as a hoax, has died at the age of 87.
Julie Irving, the author's sixth wife, told The New York Times that Irving died in a hospice in Sarasota, Florida, on Tuesday, just a week after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Irving was a little-known novelist when he made the sensational announcement in 1970 that he had held a series of interviews with the reclusive Hughes for an authorized autobiography.
Irving received a hefty advance from McGraw-Hill for the book. In fact, Irving had had no contact with Hughes. He was exposed when Hughes broke his silence and denied any collaboration with Irving. He was later convicted of fraud.
Richard Gere starred in a 2006 movie about the case called The Hoax.