British AppleMaster Douglas Adams, who wrote ‘The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy’, has died suddenly aged 49.

Adams died on Friday morning in Santa Barbara, California following a heart attack.

Mac through and through Adams bought the very first Mac sold in the UK.

The author described his relationship with the Mac as “love at first sight”.

“It was the first time I came across a computer that seemed to be designed by someone with a creative imagination,” he says in an interview on the AppleMaster Web site.

So long, and thanks for all the fish The author became a household name when the quirky cult sci-fi novel was turned into a television series. The ‘Hitch Hiker's Guide’, published in 1979, was a satirical adventure about a group of intergalactic travellers. It opens with the Earth being destroyed to make way for an intergalactic highway. It went on to sell more than 14 million copies worldwide.

Adams was in California working on the ‘Hitch Hiker’ movie.

It was followed by the sequels ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’, ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ and ‘So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish’.

Adams was working on a new novel and on an online guide, h2g2, inspired by ‘The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy’, at the time of his death.

Tributes Hundreds of fans left tributes at the official Douglas Adams Web site.

"He was pretty unique in being innovative in media after media - from radio to the Web," said Ashley Highfield, BBC's head of new media, who was working with Adams on h2g2.

"He was still coming up with more new ideas than almost anyone I've met."

Geoffrey Perkins, who produced the original radio series and had known Adams for 25 years, called him one of the most creative geniuses to ever work in radio comedy: "For somebody who was so involved in breakthroughs in new developments in technology, it's a tragedy that he's died before most of the things he's talked about have come about," said Perkins, now head of BBC comedy.

Alan Yentob, the BBC director of drama and entertainment, said: “Douglas was a big character who will be hugely missed by a host of friends and millions of fans around the world. He was a gifted writer; a one-off talent who managed to combine fantasy and humanity in books which enthralled generations of readers. We’ll miss him enormously.”

Life, the universe and everything Adams was born in Cambridge in 1952 and educated at Brentwood School, Essex, before returning to Cambridge to study at St John's College.

He married Jane Belson in 1991 and had a daughter, Polly, in 1994.

His career included work as a radio and television writer and producer.

The Mac world will mourn his passing.