Elmore Leonard, Popular Crime Writer, Dies at 87

PHOTO: Author Elmore Leonard Paul Sancya/AP Photo
Author Elmore Leonard at his Bloomfield Township, Mich., home, Sept. 17, 2012.

Elmore Leonard, whose gritty crime drama novels including "Get Shorty" have thrilled millions of fans, has died, according to a statement on his website. He was 87.

Several outlets, including The Detroit News, have reported that Leonard died from complications from a stroke.

"Elmore passed away this morning at 7:15 AM at home surrounded by his loving family," the statement read. "More to follow."

Leonard, who earned the nickname "Dutch" as a high school student in Detroit, later worked in advertising, but always harbored a passion for writing Western stories.

Ultimately, his hobby would become his full-time job. Leonard wrote 45 novels in all, on top of a number of short stories and essays. More than 20 of his pieces were adapted into films or television shows, including "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight," "Jackie Brown," "3:10 to Yuma," and the popular FX series, "Justified."

Most recently, his novel, "The Switch," was made into a film called "Life of Crime," starring Jennifer Aniston, which will premiere next month.

"My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it," he once wrote of his process. He also explained, "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."

Leonard, who married Beverly Cline in 1949, leaves behind five children, 12 grandchildren and five great grandchildren, according to his website.