Fans across the world expressed their sadness on social media about the news of Eric Jerome Dickey's death. 

The beloved author's publicist released a statement confirming that Dickey died in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday at the age of 59 after suffering from a long term illness. 

Dickey's publisher Dutton called his decades of work a "cultural touchstone," in a statement to Blavity:

"Eric Jerome Dickey loved being a writer and all that it encompassed. He loved challenging himself with each book; he adored his readers and beloved fans and was always grateful for his success. We are proud to have been his publisher over the span of his award-winning career. He will truly be missed."

Dickey spent decades as one of the most prolific Black writers in the world, making it onto the New York Times' Best Seller list at least 18 times. 

He sold more than 7 million books worldwide, according to his publicist, and was often featured on lists of the greatest Black authors alive.

He published nearly 30 books throughout his prolific career, including hits like Friends and Lovers, Milk in My Coffee, Cheaters, Chasing Destiny, Liar’s Game, Between Lovers, Thieves’ Paradise, The Other Woman, Drive Me Crazy, Genevieve, Naughty or Nice, Sleeping with Strangers, Waking with Enemies, Pleasure, Dying for Revenge, Resurrecting Midnight, Tempted by Trouble, An Accidental Affair, and Decadence. 

Dickey's passing led to an outpouring of love and sadness on social media, with dozens of Black writers and readers discussing the way his books shaped their life-long love of literature.