Crime novelist Elmore Leonard, 87

WASHINGTON, United States - American crime writer Elmore Leonard, author of 45 novels, many of which inspired hit Hollywood films, died Tuesday at the age of 87, according to his official website.

Leonard, who had suffered a stroke late last month, passed away at 7:15 AM (1115 GMT) at his home near Detroit "surrounded by his loving family," the website said.

Leonard's novels attracted a wide audience for more than five decades and inspired several movies, including the 1967 Paul Newman western "Hombre," the 1995 crime comedy "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight" (1998), and Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" (1997), based on the novel "Rum Punch."

The National Book Foundation awarded its 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Leonard last November.

"For a half-century, Elmore Leonard has produced vibrant literary work with an inimitable writing style," the foundation's executive director Harold Augenbraum said.

Leonard's website said he had been at work on his 46th novel. -