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"Angela's Ashes" author Frank McCourt , 78, is winning the battle against cancer, his brother Malachy said last night.

Malachy, well known in the New York Irish community, said his brother was "a hearty fellow and he's survived worse than this."

Speaking to AP, Malachy said McCourt was suffering from the deadly skin cancer melanoma but that it was in remission.

McCourt, who won a Pulitzer prize for Angela's Ashes, is believed to have been treated at New York's Sloan Kettering hospital which is famous for its cancer treatments.

He is now believed to be at home in Connecticut with his wife Ellen.

McCourt's agent, Molly Friedrich said he was "doing pretty well" and undergoing chemotherapy.

Meanwhile, sources have also confirmed that McCourt has battled the disease in secret for the past year.