Author Sue Townsend

British author Sue Townsend has died reportedly from a stroke. Photo: Tina Haynes

Novelist Sue Townsend, most famous for her witty and endearing chronicling of the woes of spotty adolescent Adrian Mole, has died aged 68.

Her son Danny Townsend confirmed to the BBC on Friday that the novelist had died at her home on Thursday after a short illness.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 was first published in 1982, and became a literary phenomenon thanks to her clever depictions of the confusing minefield of teenage life as the eponymous hero attempted to make sense of the world around him, with inflections of social commentary thrown in amid a backdrop of Margaret Thatcher's Britain.

Within three years, the book had sold close to two million copies and was followed in 1984 by The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, which helped her to become Britain's top-selling author of the 1980s.

Six other books followed, most recently Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years in 2009.

Early reports say that she suffered a stroke at home in Leicester, England.

Townsend, who was born in the central England city of Leicester in 1946, lost her sight after being diagnosed with diabetes in the 1980s. She underwent a kidney transplant in 2009, with her eldest son Sean donating one of his organs, and suffered a stroke over Christmas 2012.

- with AFP