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Nancy Richler poses for a photo on the red carpet at the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize awards night in Toronto, on Oct. 30, 2012.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Award-winning novelist Nancy Richler has died in Vancouver at the age of 60 following a long battle with cancer.

HarperCollins Canada said in a news release that Richler died Thursday in hospital.

The Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in British Columbia, where she wrote short fiction and novels.

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Iris Tupholme, senior vice-president and executive publisher at HarperCollins, said Richler was an elegant writer whose work resonated with readers in Canada and abroad.

"She had an extraordinary ability to see into the human heart to create complex characters who survived war, displacement and loss but who also cherished beauty and kindness and searched for happiness," Tupholme said in a statement.

Richler's short stories were published in several American and Canadian literary journals.

She also wrote three novels, the most recent being The Imposter Bride, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2012.

HarperCollins said the jury described the book as a "wonderfully nuanced work of fiction by a master of the craft."

Richler's agent, Dean Cooke, said he will never forget the moment he called her to tell her she'd been shortlisted for the prize.

"She was washing her floor and acknowledged the call but told me she really had to get back to the cleaning. It was only later that she fully understood the import of that moment," he said in a statement.

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"Nancy's work was crucial to the development and success of my agency in the early years, but more importantly, I valued her friendship beyond measure. She was a beautiful writer and a more beautiful person."

Richler won the 2003 Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction for her book Your Mouth Is Lovely, and the 1997 Arthur Ellis Award for the crime novel Throwaway Angels.

She is survived by her partner Vicki Trerise, her sister, and a brother.

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