By Mary Bubala

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Still no word yet on funeral arrangements for Tom Clancy. The celebrated author died this week after a short illness.

Mary Bubala reports people continue to mourn the loss of the Baltimore-based author.

Tom Clancy sold his first book, The Hunt for Red October, for just $5,000. A rave review by President Reagan propelled the book up the best-seller list.

Clancy was invited to the White House to meet the president, later telling WJZ’s Denise Koch that connection changed his life.

“President Reagan was the guy who made me rich. He got Red October for Christmas in 1984 and read it in two or three days and really liked it,” Clancy said.

Clancy was born and raised in Baltimore. Even after he rose to fame from writing, those who knew him said he kept a low profile, including Sergio Vitale, the owner of Aldo’s in Little Italy, who hosted the author on a weekly basis for many years.

“He was a guest and a friend,” Vitale said. “We had gone to the same high school and college. And in Baltimore, going to the same high school counts for something. And he was an utter, true Baltimorean. He was a true Marylander. He loved the city. He loved the state.”

And Clancy loved Aldo’s. So much so, he wrote it into one of his novels. In 2010’s Dead or Alive, Clancy lets a character eat his favorite meal.

“He said, ‘I’m going to put you in my next book.’ And sure enough, he did. Not by name, but he has his character come down High Street, come in here and eat the veal Milanese that he always ate,” Vitale said.

Vitale says Clancy hadn’t come into the restaurant for awhile. Instead, his driver came by to pick up takeout almost every week.

Clancy is survived by his wife of 14 years, five children and four grandchildren.

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