POOLE-born Cold War espionage author David Cornwell, who was known by his pen name John le Carre, has died aged 89 after a battle with pneumonia.

Among his 25 novels were acclaimed best-sellers including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, and The Night Manager.

Cornwell drew on his experience serving with the British intelligence services including MI6 during the Cold War in his writing.

His literary agent Jonny Geller, of Curtis Brown, said in a statement: “His like will never be seen again, and his loss will be felt by every book lover, everyone interested in the human condition.

“We have lost a great figure of English literature, a man of great wit, kindness, humour and intelligence.

“I have lost a friend, a mentor and an inspiration.”

Born in 1931 in Poole, Cornwell was educated at the universities of Bern, in Switzerland, and Oxford, before embarking on his undercover intelligence career, according to Curtis Brown.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, published in 1963, brought him worldwide acclaim and he left the service to pursue writing full time.

A statement shared on behalf of the author’s family said: “It is with great sadness that we must confirm that David Cornwell – John le Carre – passed away from pneumonia last Saturday night after a short battle with the illness.

“David is survived by his beloved wife of almost 50 years, Jane, and his sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon.

“We all grieve deeply his passing. Our thanks go to the wonderful NHS team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for the care and compassion that he was shown throughout his stay. We know they share our sadness.”

The novelist’s grandfather Alderman Alfred Ernest Frank Cornwell lived in Mount Road, Parkstone and was mayor of Poole for a term ending in November 1929.

He was a senior partner in a firm of insurance brokers, as well as managing director of Boscombe Motor Repairs.

David’s father Ronald Thomas Archibald Cornwell lived with his wife Olive in Brownsea View Avenue, Lilliput, before moving to London where he tried to prove himself with moneymaking schemes.

David and his older brother Tony were frequent visitors to the house in Mount Road, where they stayed with his aunties during the holidays.

They enjoyed playing with cap guns at Constitution Hill and took out boats at Poole Park and David was also a frequent visitor to Bournemouth Pier Theatre.

“Our household was artless, bookless and cultureless,” he once told the Daily Echo.

David, who was a boarder at Sherborne School from the age of 13, would devour novels by Somerset Maugham, Conrad, Dickens, Buchan and Conan Doyle in secret.

He began writing during a stint with the Army Intelligence Corps after achieving a first class degree in modern languages at the university in Beren, Switzerland and a spell teaching at Eton College.