Poet-author Dannie Abse dies at 91
Welsh poet and author Dr Dannie Abse, the one-time winner of the Wales Book of the Year award, has died at 91.
The writer, who recently lived in north London, was once hailed as being "at the top of the Welsh tree" by the country's literary body and named a CBE for his talents in the 2012 New Year Honours.
His agent Robert Kirby said on Twitter: "Very sad news Dannie Abse has died. A great poet and a good friend."
Publisher Hutchinson, which is due to release what will now be the writer's last collection of poetry, added: "We're so saddened by the death of the wonderful Dannie Abse. His poems will live on."
Abse was able to combine his writing with a career as a doctor, aspects of his life that, together with his Jewish background and Welsh nationality, formed integral themes in his poetry.
He was the brother of former Labour MP and lawyer Leo Abse, who campaigned to decriminalise homosexuality and died in 2008.
The writer's achievements included winning the Wales Book of the Year 2008 award and its £10,000 prize for The Presence - a memoir of life after the death of his 78-year-old wife Joan in a car crash in June 2005.
It chronicles not only his grief, but their 54-year relationship.
Peter Finch, the then chief executive of Academi, now Wales Literature, that runs the awards, said at the time: "Dannie Abse is up there at the top of the Welsh tree. Academi applauds."
His most recent novel, The Strange Case Of Dr Simmonds & Dr Glas, was published in 2002 and long-listed for the Booker Prize.
In 2012 he accepted his CBE for services to poetry and literature somewhat reluctantly.
"It's a compliment, and one should always say thank you," he said at the time.
"Yes, I did think whether to accept it. But then I realised that Harold Pinter, far more left-wing than me, and others too have accepted honours."
"You start writing poetry as a gentle pursuit, but it can be tough in many ways too. You have to go into the darkness of oneself, as it were, to come back with some light."
Last year, to mark his 90th birthday, he released a collection of poetry titled Speak, Old Parrot, in which he returned to themes of loss, love, medicine and its moral implications, as well as the nature of creativity, Jewish folk tradition and the passing of time.
His forthcoming collection of poetry, Ask The Moon, was due to be published in February.