Margaret Atwood's partner Graeme Gibson dies during London book tour

The Handmaid's Tale author announced the sad news on Twitter

Margaret Atwood's partner, Graeme Gibson, has sadly passed away aged 85. The novelist and conservationist, who was in a relationship with Margaret for 48 years, was in London while accompanying her during the book tour for her new novel, The Testaments. In a statement, Margaret said: "We are devastated by the loss of Graeme, our beloved father, grandfather, and spouse, but we are happy that he achieved the kind of swift exit he wanted and avoided the decline into further dementia that he feared. He had a lovely last few weeks, and he went out on a high, surrounded by love, friendship and appreciation. We are grateful for his wise, ethical, and committed life."

Graeme and Margaret were together for 48 years

Graeme passed away in hospital, and Margaret took to Twitter to thank the Langham Hotel and the University College Hospital for taking care of him. She wrote: "@Langham_London: Thank you to all staff who were so kind and helpful. It is much appreciated… Thank you to all at @uclh in London England who were so kind, helpful and respectful, and took such good care. The family appreciates it very much." According to the obituary, the late 85-year-old was the son of a Canadian Army Brigadier General and an Australian musician, and was best known for his work as a novelist, essayist, authors' rights advocate, and bird conservation activist. It added: "He was a magnificent cook, an enthusiastic host, a singer of songs and a teller of tales."

Graeme passed away after being taken ill in London

He is survived by his children, Matthew, Graeme the Younger and Jess, and three grandchildren, Maddy, Rowan and Alder. The obituary requested that donations be made to the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, to Nature Canada, or to Dying With Dignity. Well-wishers were quick to offer their condolences, with one writing: " What a remarkably full, rich and satisfying life! But what an empty space he must have left. I am so sorry for the loss his loved ones must be feeling." Another person added: "RIP I remember meeting him at your NBCC Sandrof awards ceremony, such a lovely learned man. My condolences."