South African novelist Andre Brink. Picture: Eric Lalmand

Johannesburg -

Literary giant Andre Brink died after getting a blood clot on his leg, SABC News reported on Saturday.

This was according to his family, the broadcaster reported.

Fellow writer and friend, Ampie Coetzee, said he was shocked by the news.

“ He was really an important writer in the Afrikaans literary world and in the South African literary world,” he was quoted as saying.

Close friend and author Abraham de Vries described him as one of South Africa's greatest novelists.

“Andre was actually more known abroad than in South Africa, more respected there and in higher standing abroad than in his home country.”

Netwerk24 reported that Brink died on Friday night at the age of 79.

He was aboard a flight from the Netherlands to Cape Town at the time.

He was returning from Belgium after receiving an honorary doctorate.