Eric Jerome Dickey, Bestselling Author, Remembered by Writers and Fans After Death at 59

Author Eric Jerome Dickey died on Sunday, following a long illness at 59 years old. Fans and writers paid tribute to the Dickey across social media.

As reported by Newsone, Dickey's death was first shared on social media by a cousin named La Verne Madison Fuller and later confirmed by a publicist.

Known for books such as Friends and Lovers, Milk, and Bad Men and Wicked Women, Dickey was a New York Times bestselling author, with over 7 million copies of his books published worldwide, according to Essence. He wrote 29 novels.

Fans responded to Dickey's pinned tweet on his profile to offer tributes to the author. The December 10 tweet was similar to a poem, focusing on the consistent and steady nature of his writing. He also noted that he'd written two more books over "the last/Corona months." He also said in the thread that his favorite character was Gideon from his series of books that began with 2007's Sleeping With Strangers.

Many people shared their favorite books or pictures of their collections of Dickey's novels, including actress Andrea Lewis who shared a photo of her copies of Cheaters, Between Lovers and Sister Sister to mourn the author.

Other writers who Dickey had had a major influence on shared their own stories about the affect that his books had made in their lives and offered tributes to him. Journalist and They Can't Kill Us All author Wesley Lowery tweeted about an adolescent experience reading one of Dickey's books.

"I remember sneaking around with my copy of "Friends and Lovers" in middle school like it was contraband. Secretly reading an Eric Jerome Dickey novel was a teenage right of passage for a generation of black Americans," he wrote.

Many people shared very similar experiences to Lowery, often involving sneaking a copy of one of Dickey's books away from a parent or older relative and reading it in secrecy at a young age. "[R]eally sad to hear this news. I remember the mom of one of my pals staying with an Eric Jerome Dickey book on the bedside table -- sneaking and reading a few pages of an older person's EJD novel felt like a small rite of passage for me, for so many young black kids I knew," poet and Go Ahead in the Rain author Hanif Abdurraqib wrote.

Author and essayist Roxane Gay wrote about the significance of discovering Dickey's books and how Black people were the primary characters. "His were some of the first novels I ever read about black people that weren't about slavery or civil rights. He was a great storyteller," she wrote.

Author Lamar Giles shared a more personal message about Dickey, saying that he'd been encouraging when Giles was just beginning as a writer.

Eric Jerome Dickey Death Signing
Author Eric Jerome Dickey signs copies of his novel "Thieves' Paradise" May 20, 2002 in Chicago. Dickey was a New York Times bestselling author, with over 7 million copies of his books published worldwide. Scott Olson/Getty