'Bridges of Madison County' author Robert James Waller dies at 77

Robert James Waller, author of the novel "The Bridges of Madison County" that was embraced by Hollywood through its big screen adaptation starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, has died. He was 77.

Waller died early Thursday morning at his home in Fredericksburg, Texas, due to complications of pneumonia and multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, his representatives confirmed to Variety.

Waller was born in 1939, in Rockford, Iowa, and went on to receive two degrees from the University of Northern Iowa (then known as Iowa State Teachers College). In 1968, he received his doctorate degree in business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington. Later that year, he returned to Iowa to teach management and economics, becoming a full professor by 1977.

Related: Celebrities Who Died in 2017

By 1992, Waller famously wrote "Bridges" in a mere 11 days. The novel chronicles the wandering National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid. He spends four days wooing Francesca Johnson, a war bride from Italy married to a no-nonsense Iowa farmer. By 1993, the novel reached No. 1 on the New York Times best sellers list, remaining there for over three years.

PHOTOS: Robert James Waller through the years

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Robert James Waller through the years
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Robert James Waller through the years
225046 08: Author Robert James Waller attends the premiere of the film based on his book 'The Bridges of Madison County' at Warner Brothers'' Steven J. Ross Theatre May 31, 1995 in Los Angeles, CA. Meryl Streep won a 1996 Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as Francesca Johnson. (Photo by Barry King/Liaison)
225046 17: Author Robert James Waller and an unidentified woman attend the premiere of the film based on his book 'The Bridges of Madison County' at Warner Brothers'' Steven J. Ross Theatre May 31, 1995 in Los Angeles, CA. Meryl Streep won a 1996 Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as Francesca Johnson. (Photo by Barry King/Liaison)
UNDATED FILE PHOTO: James Robert Waller. (Photo by Diane Freed)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Robert James Waller (2ndL) and Kelli O'Hara (R) during the curtain call of the production of 'The Bridges Of Madison County' at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 19, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Author Robert James Waller attends the production of 'The Bridges Of Madison County' at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 19, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Author Robert James Waller attends the production of 'The Bridges Of Madison County' at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 19, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Author Robert James Waller attends the production of 'The Bridges Of Madison County' at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 19, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Director Bartlett Sher and Author Robert James Waller during the Pre-Opening Night Curtain Call for 'The Bridges of Madison County' with special guest Author Robert James Waller at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 19, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Director Bartlett Sher (L) and Robert James Waller attend the production of 'The Bridges Of Madison County' at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 19, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
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Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the film adaptation in 1995, which grossed $182 million worldwide. The movie earned his co-star, Meryl Streep, an Oscar nomination for best actress. The story was also brought to the Broadway stage with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. In 2014, the show as nominated for four Tony awards and won two.

After the novel's success, Weller left his hometown of Iowa and moved to a ranch in Alpine, Texas, 50 miles from the nearest town. He also divorced his wife of 36 years, with whom he had a daughter, Rachel Waller, and married Linda Bow, who worked on the ranches as a landscaper. In 2002, Waller wrote a sequel to the novel entitled "A Thousand Country Roads."

PHOTOS: A look at the celebs we lost in 2017

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Celebrities who died in 2017

Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the Swedish film version of “The Girl With Dragon Tattoo,” died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 56.

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actor Adam West attends the Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders Press Room at New York Comic-Con - Day 1 at Jacob Javits Center on October 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Roger Smith, who starred in the series "77 Sunset Strip" and was married to actress Ann-Margret, died Sunday in Sherman Oaks. He was 84.

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Gregg Allman, best known for performing in The Allman Brothers Band, passed away at 69.

(Reuters)

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell died unexpectedly at 52 after he was found in a Detroit hotel room.

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Erin Moran, who is known for her role in TV sitcom "Happy Days," died at the age of 56 after a secret battle with cancer.

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Comedian Don Rickles died at the age of 90 from kidney failure.

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Comedian Charlie Murphy died at 57 from complications stemming from a battle with leukemia.

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Roger Moore, a former James Bond star, died after a short battle with cancer at 89.

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Jonathan Demme, the director known for his work on thriller "Silence of the Lambs," died at 73 from esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease.

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Roger Ailes, who was at FOX News for two decades before being ousted last year for alleged sexual harassment, died at 77 after suffering a fall at his home.

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Bill Paxton died unexpectedly at age 61 on February 25. 

( REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT)

Soul singer Cuba Gooding Sr., who is also Cuba Gooding Jr.'s father, died at 72.

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Neil Fingleton, "Britain's tallest man" and "Games of Thrones" star died at 36 from heart failure.

 (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

"Battlestar Galactica" star Richard Hatch died at 71. 

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) 

John Hurt, star of "The Elephant Man," died at 77. 

REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett 

Legendary actress Mary Tyler Moore passed away at the age of 80.

(REUTERS)

Butch Trucks, founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, died at 69.

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Actor Miguel Ferrer died from throat cancer at 61.

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Dick Gautier, known for is role in the Broadway musical 'Bye Bye Birdie' died at 85.

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Frank Deford, giant of sports journalism, died at 78.

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Rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry, who is known for hits like ''Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Roll Over Beethoven," died at 90 years old.

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Television personality Christopher 'Big Black' Boykin, known for his MTV show "Rob & Big," died at the age of 45.

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Dina Merrill, the actress known for movies like "Butterfield 8" and "Operation Petticoat," died at 93.

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Frank Pellegrino Sr. (R) died at age 72 following a battle with lung cancer. He was known for his role on "The Sopranos." 

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Former pop singer Tommy Page was found dead at 46 in New York City.

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"Doll Squad" star Francine York passed away at 80 after a battle with cancer.

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Joni Sledge, the "We Are Family" singer, was found dead in her Phoenix home. She was 60.

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Jazz legend Al Jarreau died at the age of 76.

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Actor Robert Michael Morris died at age 77. His death was confirmed by friend Lisa Kudrow.

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