Zig Ziglar, an American author and motivational speaker, has died in Texas. He was 86.

Ziglar's executive assistant, Laurie Magers, told the Associated Press that Ziglar died Wednesday at a hospital in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

Born in Yazoo City, Miss., Ziglar, real name Hilary Hinton Ziglar, was a World War II veteran who worked in sales for a series of companies and as a training director for the Automotive Performance company in Dallas, Texas.

In 1944, he met his wife, Jean, in Jackson, Miss. He was seventeen and she was sixteen when they married in late 1946.

Ziglar was known for corporate training and motivational speeches that aimed to improve people's personal lives and careers. His company includes more than a dozen other motivational speakers who advocate "The Ziglar Way."

As of 2010, Ziglar still traveled around the country, taking part in motivational seminars, despite a fall down a flight of stairs in 2007 that left him with short-term memory problems.

Ziglar wrote more than two-dozen books on salesmanship and motivation over the past five decades.