Famed crime novelist Elmore Leonard, 87, died Tuesday at his home near Detroit from complications of a stroke he suffered several weeks ago. Leonard’s death was announced on his website.

The prolific writer had published 45 books, including such well-known titles as “Get Shorty,” and “Freaky Deaky.”

When he first started out as a writer, he concentrated on western novels. After publishing several, he changed genres to crime fiction.

Over the decades, many of his books and short stories were adapted to the screen, including “Hombre,” “3:10 to Yuma” and “Out of Sight.” Most recently, the television series “Justified” was adapted from his novella “Fire in the Hole.”

Known for his realistic dialogue, Leonard’s rules for writing have long circulated. He said his most important rule is that, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

Leonard suffered a stroke in late July. While there are an estimated 3 million male stroke survivors alive today, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. It’s also the No. 4 cause of death in the nation, killing more than 137,000 Americans per year. About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke—meaning a stroke occurs every 40 seconds, on average.

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 Photo courtesy of  www.elmoreleonard.com.