Richard Matheson, a prolific and influential writer of fantasy, horror and science fiction novels, has died at the age of 87, according to news reports.
Many of his works have been adapted for TV and cinema, and Stephen King has often cited him as the single biggest influence on his own work.
Like King, Matheson sent shivers down the spines of readers and viewers for decades with stories like The Incredible Shrinking Man and I Am Legend.
He also penned the story and screenplay for one of Steven Spielberg's most effective films, Duel, and 16 installments of TV's The Twilight Zone.
For Richard Matheson, horror was to be found potentially everywhere: battlefields, suburban streets, a cellar, an aircraft cabin. Even a library.
Matheson was born in Allendale, N.J., to Norwegian parents, and raised up in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he first set his heart on a musical career.
An avid appetite for fantasy soon sparked his imagination and fired his creativity: he was only eight when his stories appeared in a local newspaper.
Among other influences, he was transfixed by seeing Dracula at a local cinema and by his teens had the idea for the vampire story I Am Legend.