'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.

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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

 Bill Paxton died unexpectedly at age 61 on February 25. 

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

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.

(Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Actor Miguel Ferrer died from throat cancer at 61.

(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

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

(Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

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

(Photo by Marc Bryan-Brown/WireImage)

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