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Former Jesuit priest, exorcist and best-selling author Malachi Martin, 78, has died in New York City from complications arising after a second stroke.

Martin, who was best known for his often cryptic novels about conspiracies involving the Vatican, fell at his home Tuesday. The fall, according to spokesperson Kakia Livanos, probably caused extensive intracranial bleeding, which doctors could not correct with surgery Tuesday evening. He lapsed into a coma after surgery and died a short time later, Livanos said.

Martin, a native of Kerry, Ireland, was ordained to the priesthood in 1954. He held Ph.D.s in philosophy, theology, Semitic languages, archeology and Oriental history.

He served in the Vatican of Pope John XXIII from 1958 to 1964 as a close aide of the Holy See. Early on he published works that included a two-volume study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and two dozen articles on Semitic paleography.

He left the Vatican and the priesthood in 1964 after receiving a release from vows of poverty and obedience and moved to New York City. But he continued his apostolic service on behalf of the Catholic Church and retained a commitment to teaching traditional Catholic virtues throughout his life.

One of his most notable works of fiction included his most recent book, “Windswept House,” which was published by Doubleday in 1996. Livanos said he was currently working on his next novel but had not finished it.

“He predicted it would be his most controversial and important book to date,” she said in a telephone interview with WorldNetDaily. “It was a work about the exercise of papal power under the changing conditions of the new millennium.” She didn’t say whether the book would ever be published.

Other works by Dr. Martin include “The Keys of this Blood” (1990, Simon and Schuster); “The Jesuits” (1987, Simon and Schuster), “Vatican” (1986, Harper and Row) and “Rich Church, Poor Church” (1984, Putnam).

Livanos told WorldNetDaily that Martin had been taking a number of anti-coagulant medications after suffering a stroke in 1998. She said doctors believe that the medications might have caused increased bleeding in Martin’s brain when he fell.

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