He died Wednesday morning at United Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, and leaves behind a wife and three children.
Minnesota’s KARE 11 News also received confirmation of the tragedy from close family friends.
Born in St. Paul, Flynn went to Minnesota’s St. Thomas Military Academy High School and then the University of St. Thomas for college.
Diagnosed with dyslexia in grade school, Flynn forced himself to read and write daily. He took a job with a commercial real estate company after college, but soon found himself inspired to write a novel.
He made the risky decision to quit his job, bartending at night so he could write during the day.
Flynn received more than 60 rejection letters from publishers when attempting to publish his first book, Term Limits. But after he chose the risky route of self-publishing, Term Limits went on to become a New York Times bestseller.
Flynn’s subsequent books primarily revolve around undercover CIA agent Mitch Rapp.
“Read by current and former presidents, foreign heads of state, and intelligence professionals around the world, Flynn’s novels are taken so seriously one high-ranking CIA official told his people, ‘I want you to read Flynn’s books and start thinking about how we can more effectively wage this war on terror,’” according to his website.
Flynn said he heard personally from former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush that they’re “big fans.”
He also worked with the producers of the hit Fox show 24, consulting on story lines for the show’s fifth season.