04/20/2014 10:57 EDT | Updated 06/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Alistair MacLeod, acclaimed Canadian writer, dead at 77

Alistair MacLeod, one of Canada’s great short story writers whose work detailed the people and culture of Cape Breton, has died. He was 77.

His death was confirmed by his friend, author Donna Morrissey.

MacLeod was born in North Battleford, Sask. He moved with his family when he was 10 years old to Inverness County, N.S.

He authored two collections of short stories, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories (1986). He also wrote the novel No Great Mischief (1999) and the illustrated story To Everything There Is a Season: A Cape Breton Christmas Story (2004).

His writing touched on themes of economic migration, family ties and tensions and portrayals of cultural decline.

MacLeod taught literature and creative writing at the University of Windsor and was retired.

In 2008, MacLeod was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his commitment to Canadian literature and influence on Canadian authors.