Ex-convict-turned-writer Joji Abe, known for a bestselling humor-filled novel depicting the lives of inmates, died of pneumonia at his home in Tokyo on Monday, his family said. He was 82.

A native of Tokyo, Abe joined a gangster group when he was in junior high school. After stints behind bars both in Japan and abroad, his diverse career before publishing his first book in 1986 included being an airline cabin attendant, a personal bodyguard and a sports commentator.