A Saskatchewan author who published a highly renowned memoir in his mid-80s chronicling his journey through residential school has died.

Joseph Auguste Merasty, or “Augie,” died Monday morning in Prince Albert.

The 87-year-old was best known for his memoir, The Education of Augie Merasty, a book published two years ago covering his nine-year journey at St. Therese Residential School near Sturgeon Landing, Sask.

“I talk about that school and all the cruel things, and what kinds of punishment we get for the least little things,” Merasty told CTV News in a 2016 interview. He was five years old when he was sent to the school.

He began work on the book after reaching out to the University of Saskatchewan for help sharing his story. David Carpenter, an author who helped Merasty write the memoir, said he was initially hesitant to take on the project until Merasty’s storytelling hooked him in.

“He gave these characters to me in all their complexity,” Carpenter said Tuesday. “He’s not exactly literate, and yet he's such a good observer of human nature.”

The two needed more than a decade to finalize the 75-page book, which has since become an award-winning, national bestseller and earned praise from newspapers the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post.

“I want to be famous before I kick the bucket,” Merasty joked with CTV, about a year after the memoir’s publication.

Merasty held numerous jobs throughout his life — including fisherman, trapper, boxer and artist — but spent a lot of his adulthood living on the streets in Prince Albert. He battled alcohol addiction, prostate cancer and dementia.

“Suddenly, Augie Merasty went from this guy, this drunk on the streets who would tell his friends, 'You know I'm writing a book, don't you?' and they say, 'Yeah, sure Augie, sure Augie.' Suddenly, the book is a huge, huge hit,” Carpenter said.

Merasty died in a Prince Albert nursing home.