Author Richard Adams, whose work influenced generations of readers and aspiring writers, has passed away at the age of 96.
Adams' daughter confirmed his death to the BBC and other British media outlets. Juliet Johnson said her father had been ill for some time, and died peacefully on Christmas Eve. "I assured him that he was much loved, that he had done great work, that many people loved his books," Johnson told BBC Radio 4 in a brief interview.
According to his daughter, Adams was looking forward to the upcoming adaptation of his classic story by the BBC. Set to arrive in 2017, Johnson said the latest incarnation of his story gave him "great composure and comfort" in his final days.
Adams was 52 years old when he wrote his first, and most famous, novel, the best-selling "Watership Down." For decades, children and adults found inspiration in his tale of rabbits fighting for survival against the encroaching dangers of mankind, as well as each other, exploring the issues of poverty, utopia, spirituality and police state politics.
The novel, which had been rejected by a number of publishers before finally being released in 1972 by Rex Collings Ltd of London, not only topped best-sellers lists and won numerous awards, it was adapted into an acclaimed animated film in 1978. It was later re-interpreted as an animated television show in the UK and Canada from 1999-2001, and became a stage play in 2006.