The British author VS Naipaul has died at his home in London aged 85, his family said in a statement. 

Lady Naipaul said: “He was a giant in all that he achieved and he died surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavour.”

Salman Rushdie was among the literary figures who paid tribute on Saturday night with a tweet that hinted at the way Naipaul’s prickly persona and unflinching prose could alienate friends and provoke admirers.

“We disagreed all our lives, about politics, about literature, and I feel as sad as if I just lost a beloved older brother,” he wrote. “RIP Vidia.”

Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was born to descendants of indentured Indians in colonial Trinidad in 1932. From there he rose to become one of the giants of Twentieth Century writing, publishing more than 30 books ranging from comic novels set in his homeland to memoir and travel writing.