LONDON - British playwright and Nobel laureate Harold Pinter has died aged 78, his wife Lady Antonia Fraser and his agent said Thursday. Pinter, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, had been suffering from cancer. Fraser told the Guardian newspaper: "He was a great, and it was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years. He will never be forgotten." In an email to AFP, Pinter's agent Judy Daish said that Pinter died of cancer Wednesday and that a small private funeral and memorial service would be held at a date to be announced. Pinter's plays included "The Birthday Party", "The Dumb Waiter" and "The Homecoming". They often featured the slang language of his native east London as well as his trademark menacing pauses. He was also a vigorous campaigner against the Iraq war. Pinter said he had stopped writing plays in 2005 and focused on poetry, alongside forays into acting and screenwriting. Following treatment for cancer of the oesophagus diagnosed in 2002, he returned to the stage, winning rave reviews for his performance of Beckett's monologue, "Krapp's Last Tape", in London in 2006. Leading figures from the arts world in Britain rushed to pay tribute to Pinter. The creative director of the BBC Alan Yentob told the broadcaster: "He was a unique figure in British theatre. He has dominated the theatre scene since the 1950s." Theatre critic Tim Walker, who writes for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, added: "This was a man who had plays with long silences, where characters did not always go anywhere " very much like real life. "He brought a realism to the business." In its citation for the Nobel Prize, the academy said Pinter was "generally seen as the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century". It added that he was an author "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms".