Historical novelist Hilary Mantel, the first British female writer to win the Booker Prize twice, has died aged 70, her publishers 4th Estate Books announced on Friday.

"We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald," a statement said.

"This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work."

Her literary agent A.M.Heath said that Mantel died "suddenly yet peacefully" on Thursday 22 September, surrounded by close family and friends.

Mantel first won the Booker Prize for her 2009 novel Wolf Hall, a fictional retelling of the rise to power of English statesman Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII.

She won again in 2012 for the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which was the second book in her trilogy on Cromwell's rise and fall.

The final instalment, The Mirror & the Light, was longlisted for the 2020 Prize but did not win.

Read more: Hilary Mantel: bringing ghosts to life
Nicholas Pearson, former 4th Estate publishing director, said news of her death was "devastating".

"Hilary had a unique outlook on the world -- she picked it apart and revealed how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels -- every book an unforgettable weave of luminous sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable insight.

"She seemed to know everything. For a long time she was critically admired, but The Wolf Hall Trilogy found her the vast readership she long deserved."

Ben Hamilton, Mantel's literary agent, said of the writer:

“Her wit, stylistic daring, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight mark her out as one of the greatest novelists of our time.”