05/10/2015 15:00 BST | Updated 05/10/2016 06:12 BST

Wallander Author Henning Mankell Dies Of Cancer At 67

Sir Kenneth Branagh has led tributes to Swedish crime fiction author and Wallander creator, Henning Mankell.

Branagh, who played Inspector Kurt Wallander in the UK TV adaptation of Mankell's books, described the "passionate commitment" of the author who died in his sleep in Gothenburg, Sweden aged 67. 

The author had suffered from cancer revealing his diagnosis in January 2014 in a newspaper column for The Guardian and a Swedish daily. 

Branagh said: "In life and in art Henning Mankell was a man of passionate commitment. I will miss his provocative intelligence and his great personal generosity.

"Aside from his stringent political activism, and his decades of work in Africa, he also leaves an immense contribution to Scandanavian literature. His loving family, and those privileged to know him, together with readers from all over the world, will mourn a fine writer and a fine man."

Executive producer for Left Bank Pictures, Andy Harries said: "It was a tremendous privilege to know Henning and to bring Wallander to life in the English language for the BBC and Masterpiece. The final three films will serve to honour his brilliant work as a novelist and his passion for encouraging justice, equality and decency wherever he went."

The fourth series of the show, with Branagh returning to the lead role, is due to air on BBC One later this year. 

Ahead of the show returning to air, Branagh said: "I always approach each series of Wallander with anticipation and excitement, but this last series of films contain some of the greatest challenges the character has ever faced. It's a privilege to try to meet them, and I look forward to a great Swedish autumn working on Henning Mankell's masterly creation."

His popular books sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

Edinburgh-based crime writer Ian Rankin also remembered the star, writing on Twitter: "I interviewed Henning Mankell @edbookfest a few years back, just as his books were being published in English. His life read like a novel."

He is survived by his wife, Eva Bergman and his son, Jon Mankell.