Award-winning writer Frank McCourt has died at the age of 78.

He was suffering from meningitis and had recently been treated for skin cancer.

A school teacher who came to writing late in life, Mr McCourt wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes in 1995.

The book, which told the poignant, bleak story of his upbringing in Limerick in the 1940's, was later made into a film directed by Alan Parker.

The book sold over 4m copies, and was translated into 17 languages.

Mr McCourt was honoured with US National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the ABBY Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

'Tis,' McCourt's second book, picked up where the first left off as he arrived back in the US at age 19. McCourt's 2005 'Teacher Man' chronicled his 27-year career in New York's school system.

Frank McCourt dropped out of school at 13, and during the Korean War he was stationed in Germany and was able to study. He later enrolled at New York University before taking the lead in a city classroom.

He is survived by his wife Ellen, and daughter Maggie.

The Mayor of Limerick and the University of Limerick have paid tribute to Mr McCourt.

Mayor Kevin Kiely described him as one of Limerick's most successful and talented sons.

Acting UIL President Professor Paul McCutcheon said the university was very saddened to learn of the passing of a dear friend and supporter.

Frank McCourt was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the University in 1997. He was also a director of the Board of the UIL Foundation and also spent time there as a writer in residence.

A book of condolence will be opened at Limerick City Hall tomorrow for the late author.