Tom Clancy, the author of a string of best-selling espionage and military thrillers, died Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in his native Baltimore, his publisher said. He was 66.

The announcement did not specify the cause of death of the writer, a lifelong Baltimore resident and part-owner of the city's Major League Baseball club, the Orioles.

Clancy was best known for the books he wrote featuring Jack Ryan, his fictional CIA analyst who was played in various films by actors such as Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck.

He began writing novels while still working as an insurance agent.

His first novel, "The Hunt for Red October," was a phenomenal success that enabled him to devote himself to writing.

After focusing on the Soviet Union, the enemy or adversary was changed in later works and thus "Patriot Games" (1987) focused on IRA terrorists and in "Clear and Present Danger" it was the Colombian drug cartels.

His last novel, "Command Authority," written together with Mark Greaney, is scheduled to go on sale on Dec. 3.

The New York Times says that 17 of his novels made it onto its best-seller list. EFE