He was admitted to hospital in his adopted city of London a few weeks ago to have a pacemaker fitted, but complications arose.
At the time of writing, Russ and his most famous book Riddley Walker are trending on Twitter, with scores of tributes coming in on the social networking service, as well as on The Kraken, the Russell Hoban community group.
The news first came through this lunchtime via Gollancz publishers' Twitter account, who had been told the news by Russ's longtime literary agents David Higham Associates.
Walker Books, who are publishing Russ's much-anticipated new book Soonchild in March 2012, also tweeted a lovely tribute from Russ's editor David Lloyd, saying family and friends had been reading to Russ at his bedside in his last weeks.
The Guardian have also published a very good news story on their website. Will Self later wrote a fitting personal tribute calling Russ "my hero" and describing Riddley Walker as "perhaps the post-nuclear-apocalypse novel sans pareil". The Telegraph also published an excellent memoir by Tim Martin mentioning The Kraken and SA4QE, and the BBC have reported on Russ's death. A further tribute was posted by SA4QE contributor Alida Allison on her San Diego State University Children's Literature blog. More obituary links are being recorded by The Kraken here and the official Russell Hoban site The Head of Orpheus has since been updated with a wonderful round-up of news, tributes and other links.
The photo above is from the excellent Guardian Book Club interview in November 2010.
We'll be posting more in the coming days, not least because 4 February 2012 marks SA4QE's 10th birthday. No doubt this one will be very poignant but also very special.
SA4QE, aka the Slickman A4 Quotation Event, has celebrated Russell Hoban's words every year on his birthday since 2002. Read more here.
Thank you for everything, Russ. As you wrote one time:
More and more I find life is a series of disappearances followed usually but not always by reappearances; you disappear from your morning self and reappear as your afternoon self; you disappear from feeling good and reappear feeling bad. And people, even face to face and clasped in each other's arms, disappear from each other.
- from Fremder