By Andrea Towers
Updated February 15, 2016 at 03:24 PM EST
Credit: Lou Krasky/AP

Pat Conroy has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the best-selling author and his publisher announced on Monday.

“Hey out there, I celebrated my 70th birthday in October and realized that I’ve spent my whole writing life trying to find out who I am and I don’t believe I’ve even come close,” Conroy wrote in a note posted to Facebook. “It was in Beaufort in sight of a river’s sinuous turn, and the movements of its dolphin-proud tides that I began to discover myself and where my life began at 15. I have recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. With the help of the wonderful people at M.D. Anderson I intend to fight it hard. I am grateful to all my beloved readers, my friends and my family for their prayers. I owe you a novel and intend to deliver it. Much love, Pat Conroy.”

Conroy’s publisher, Doubleday, added its own statement. “Pat is currently undergoing treatment at M.D. Anderson, where he is receiving excellent care and support from his doctors. The Conroy family asks for privacy at this time as Pat fights this challenging illness with the same spirit of courage that has forged his writing career. Pat and his family are enormously grateful to all of his readers for their prayers and good wishes.”

Conroy is best known for the acclaimed novels The Great Santini and The Price of Tides.