Author Iain Banks, who has penned numerous award-winning novels, has been given less than a year to live by doctors after being diagnosed with late stage cancer. The Scottish novelist posted a message on his official website, saying he was cancelling all future public engagements and that his next novel The Quarry - due out next year - would be his last.

The statement said his cancer was diagnosed after he saw his doctor about a sore back. He was initially told he had jaundice, the further tests revealed the full extent of his illness. In a post titled "I am officially very poorly," the acclaimed writer also revealed he had married his partner. Banks said the disease had spread from his gall bladder to both lobes of his liver, possibly the pancreas and some lymph nodes. He ruled out, "any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term". Banks noted that the bottom line was that "I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it's extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year".

Banks, who in 2008 was named in The Times' list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945, is perhaps still best known for his debut fictional novel The Wasp Factory, which told the story of sixteen year old Frank Cauldhame describing his childhood. It was revealed that Frank was the perpetrator of three deaths of children within his family before he reached the age of ten. As the chilling novel develops, his brother escapes from a mental hospital before the violent twist ending.

Away from literature, Banks was a signatory of the Declaration of Calton Hill, which calls for Scottish independence - the irony being that the author may not live to see it put into practise in the coming years. In 2004, he campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached following the invasion of Iraq. He reportedly cut up his passport and posted it to 10 Downing Street. 

In his message this morning, Banks paid tribute to the NHS in his homeland for their help. "Lastly, I'd like to add that from my GP onwards, the professionalism of the medics involved - and the speed with which the resources of the NHS in Scotland have been deployed - has been exemplary, and the standard of care deeply impressive. We're all just sorry the outcome hasn't been more cheerful," he added.

We here at wish Iain Banks the very best.