Although born in South Africa, he was seen as primarily an Australian writer. (Australians are excellent at claiming successes as their own; Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson) Courtenay had doubts that his first novel, The Power of One, would even sell. Instead it became one of Australia's most successful books. It was also his only title to have been published in the U.S.
In September, Courtenay appeared on a television program announcing that he had only months to live as he was suffering gastric cancer. Courtenay was extremely philosophical and candid in the interviews I saw, and my respect for the man grew immensely.
He was 79 years old.