Iain Banks, renowned author of The Wasp Factory, has revealed he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and it is "extremely unlikely" he'll survive the year.
The Scottish author, aged 59, said via a statement on has personal website has been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer which spread to his liver and pancreas.
Banks, frequently praised as one of the greatest British writers, said: "I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.
"The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it's extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.
"As a result, I've withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I've asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry - but we find ghoulish humour helps). By the time this goes out we'll be married and on a short honeymoon.
"We intend to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us. Meanwhile my heroic publishers are doing all they can to bring the publication date of my new novel forward by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves.
"There is a possibility that it might be worth undergoing a course of chemotherapy to extend the amount of time available. However that is still something we're balancing the pros and cons of, and anyway it is out of the question until my jaundice has further and significantly, reduced."
Banks' debut novel The Wasp Factory was released in 1984. It was placed at number 32 in Channel 4's list of the greatest novels of the 20th Century in 1997.
His other works include The Crow Road, Complicity and Stonemouth. He adapts the name Iain M Banks when writing science fiction novels.