'Lonesome Dove' author Larry McMurtry dead at 84
US president Barack Obama presenting the National Humanities Medal to writer Larry McMurtry in 2015(AFP)

Larry McMurtry, author of the best-selling "Lonesome Dove" novels set in the Old West and an Oscar-winning screenwriter for "Brokeback Mountain," has died at the age of 84, his agent said Friday.

"Larry McMurtry passed away last night, on March 25 of heart failure," Amanda Lundberg said in a statement.

McMurtry died in Texas, where he lived most of his life and which provided the setting for many of his books and screenplays.

Besides his popular Western novels, McMurtry racked up an impressive array of movie credits during his career.

McMurtry and co-writer Diana Ossana won an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay in 2006 for the movie "Brokeback Mountain," the story of a romance between two cowboys based on a short story by Annie Proulx.

Several of his books were made into films including "The Last Picture Show," directed by Peter Bogdanovich and "Terms of Endearment," which won the 1983 Oscar for best picture and featured Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger.

His first novel, "Horseman, Pass By," was brought to the big screen under the name "Hud" and starred Paul Newman.

McMurtry's most popular work was the 1985 "Lonesome Dove," the story of two Texas Rangers, Augustus "Gus" McCrae and Woodrow F. Call, set in the 1870s.

It spawned both a prequel and sequels and was made into a television series starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.

McMurtry lived in Archer City, Texas, where he owned "Booked Up," one of the largest independent bookstores in the United States.

He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by president Barack Obama in 2015.

Lundberg said McMurtry died "surrounded by his loved ones who he lived with" including Ossana, his long-time collaborator, and his wife, Norma Faye, the widow of Ken Kesey, the author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

His son, acclaimed folk singer James McMurtry, was also at his bedside, she said.