WASHINGTON (AFP) – Reclusive author J.D. Salinger, who has died aged 91, was a giant of American literature whose seminal novel "The Catcher in the Rye" lent a voice to the angst and despair of generations of rebellious adolescents.
One of the most admired and influential US writers following the success of his 1951 novel and its laconic anti-hero Holden Caulfield, Salinger published nothing after 1965 and had not been interviewed since 1980.
Salinger died Wednesday at his home in New Hampshire from natural causes, the Harold Ober Associates agency said Thursday.
Mystery surrounded much of the last five decades of his life. After being overwhelmed by his new fame, Salinger withdrew from public life, retreating to his house perched on a tree-blanketed hill in the small town of Cornish, New Hampshire.
Memoirs written by his daughter and a former lover affirmed that Salinger still wrote, but there has been no sign of any new book despite the entreaties of his legions of fans.
Indeed in a rare interview with the Boston Sunday Globe in 1980, Salinger said: "I love to write, and I assure you I write regularly. But I write for myself and I want to be left absolutely alone to do it."