Writer John Nichols, best known for his populist novel The War in Milagro's Bean Fields, which directed a film directed by Robert Redford, has died at the age of 83.

The author died Monday at his home in Taos, New Mexico, amid ill health linked to prolonged heart disease, his daughter Tanya Harris said.

Nicholas gained early acclaim with the publication in 1965 of his unusual love story The Sterile Cuckoo, which later featured a film starring Liza Minnelli.

In 1969, he moved with his first wife from New York to northern New Mexico, where he found inspiration for a trilogy of novels that marked the success of The War in Milagro's Bean Fields.

The novel about a fictional Latin American farming community in the mountains of northern New Mexico has won widespread acclaim for its mix of humor, sense of place, and themes of social justice. It was based on a film directed by Robert Redford and starring Ruben Blades and Christopher Walken. Dozens of locals have been photographed as extras.

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"New Mexico's sense of humor, history and culture, and the nation's poverty and inequality influenced every sentence," John Nichols said in his memoirs.

Nichols' published works include at least 13 novels, as well as nonfiction ranging from collected essays, original photography, a chronicle of his parents' early life, and more.

According to friends and relatives after three marriages, John Nichols lived alone in his Taos home, laden with books, documents and manuscripts, and had a lasting work routine involving writing at night.

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