Author Howard Marks, 68, who was jailed for marijuana smuggling (
Howard Marks has died

Mr Nice, the former drug-smuggler turned author who made cameos in films, campaigned for cannabis legalisation and took to public speaking, has died aged 70. The Oxford graduate, who spent seven years in America's most notorious prison, said on learning he had incurable bowel cancer that he doesn't regret a thing.

And, given that he managed to fit more into a lifetime than most, it's not surprising. Here is why Howard Marks' legend will live on:

He claimed to be a British secret agent to avoid prison. Prior to being captured and imprisoned, Marks managed to avoid jail by claiming he was a secret agent working undercover. His notorious escapes from the law, combined with his reported affability, propelled him to folk hero status.

He was unashamedly pro-legalising cannabis. Despite his smuggling career landing him in a notorious US prison, Marks said in a 2015 interview with The Observer: "Smuggling cannabis was a wonderful way of living – perpetual culture shock, absurd amounts of money, and the comforting knowledge of getting so many people stoned."

He charmed his way out of a sentence. Reports from a 1980 Old Bailey trial put Marks' acquittal down to his charm on the stand, as he managed to talk his way out of jail time.

He became a 'stoned eclectic' DJ. Never one to stick to just one career, Marks bounced easily from drug smuggling to writing and then to DJ-ing. He began with a dubstep-inspired sound, later getting into his own 'stoned eclectic' genre. He also featured on Super Furry Animals' track 'Hanging With Howard Marks' and launched his own record label.

Everyone knows someone who smoked weed with Marks. The former drug smuggler spent much of his life campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis, and commented that he had been privileged to spend so much time with 'lovers of weed'. Many of the messages of condolences on Twitter mentioned getting stoned with Mr Nice, and chances are you know someone who did too.

He stood for Parliament. Marks not only entered four elections in different constituencies on a single issue ticket – pro-cannabis, naturally – but put his name forward for the Labour-created position of government Drugs Tsar, but said Keith Halliwell "pipped me at the post".

Sold more than 1 million copies of his autobiography. Now known as much for his talks, writing, music and politics than his smuggling days, Marks managed to release a best-selling book within a year of leaving prison.