Author Elmore Leonard (L) signs a copy of his novel 'Up In Honey's Room' on May 24, 2007 at Book Soup in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Elmore Leonard, a former adman who later in life became one of America's foremost crime writers, has died. His researcher, Gregg Sutter, says Elmore passed away this morning from complications from a stroke.

Leonard's books were populated by pathetic schemers, clever con men and casual killers. And many of the novels _ notably ``Out of Sight,'' ``Get Shorty'' and ``Be Cool'' _ were made into films. Critics adored his simple, direct language.

More recently, he served as executive producer of the FX drama, ``Justified,'' which featured as its centerpiece U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, a recurring Leonard character. He was 87.

For more on Leonard's writting style - Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules