09/18/2019 12:39 EDT

Canadian Novelist Graeme Gibson Has Died At 85

According to partner Margaret Atwood, he had been suffering from dementia.

Moe Doiron / The Globe and Mail via CP
Canadian novelist Graeme Gibson has died at 85. He's pictured here with partner Margaret Atwood after they both received a Doctor of Letters degree from the Faculty of Arts from Ryerson University in 2012.

TORONTO — Penguin Random House Canada says Canadian author Graeme Gibson has died at 85.

A co-founder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada and the Writers’ Union of Canada, Gibson also served as president of PEN Canada. He was also a conservationist, and served on the council of the World Wildlife Fund.

He was the author of novels including “Five Legs,” “Perpetual Motion” and “Gentleman Death,” and a member of the Order of Canada.

Don Denton / The Canadian Press
Graeme Gibson during a promotional event for his book "The Bedside Book of Beasts" in Victoria.

For the past several decades, Gibson lived in Toronto with his partner, author Margaret Atwood. They had a daughter together. He also had two sons from a previous relationship with publisher Shirley Gibson.

Atwood said in a statement he was suffering from dementia. She said she was “devastated” but that he passed away “surrounded by love, friendship and appreciation” and that she was “grateful for his wise, ethical and committed life.”

With files from the Associated Press