Paul Brickhill, author of "The Great Escape" and other best-selling war novels that sold millions of copies and were made into films, has died. He was 74.

The cause of his death Tuesday was not immediately available.Brickhill was a journalist on The Sun newspaper in Sydney before joining the Royal Australian Air Force. He trained as a fighter pilot in Canada, flew with a squadron in England and was shot down over the Tunisian desert in 1943.

He spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft 111, the prisoner-of-war camp that was the setting of his book "The Great Escape," written in 1949.

"The Dam Busters," "Escape or Die" and "Reach for the Sky," the story of legless British aviator Sir Douglas Bader, followed in quick succession.

Brickhill's major books were translated into more than 20 languages and several, including "The Great Escape," were made into films.

After the war, he worked for The Sun in Europe, where he covered the Nuremberg trials, and in New York.

He is survived by a son, Timothy, and a daughter, Tempe.