Wife of CEO of Hachette Australia Matthew Richell, Hannah Richell, is too distraught to speak about his recent death, according to the statement from the family.
Mrs Richell, who wrote Secrets of the Tides and The Shadow, is now left with their two children, aged six and three. The couple both hailed from Britain but resided in Sydney.
Mrs Richell was only informed about her husband's death by the police.
Mr Richell died after he hit perilous rocks while surfing Wednesday at Bronte Beach. He had been swept off Tamara where his body was found. According to police investigation, he had a head injury and was rescued unconscious by other surfers. First aid was given to revive him but to no avail.
Waverley Council chief lifeguard Bruce Hopkins said that the area where his body was found is known for being dangerous.
"It's dangerous in there because you have a lot of ledges underneath. You've got sharp rocks, and there's no other way out of there," Hopkins told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Coleen O'Neill, of the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club, also said the same about the Tamara area describing it as "very treacherous."
"That's very, very dangerous there. Because of the rips. It happens at that point ... it can pull you out and pull you around into Tama. That particular spot would have to be the most dangerous on the beach. And Tamarama is classed as the most dangerous beach in Sydney, I'd say, and Bronte's not too far behind it," O'Neill said.
The CEO of Hachette UK Tim Hely Hutchinson expressed his condolences to the Richell family.
"With great sorrow, and in shock, we have to announce the death of our beloved friend and colleague, Matt Richell, CEO of Hachette Australia and Chairman of Hachette New Zealand, who was tragically killed in a surfing accident ... our thoughts and most heartfelt condolences are with Matt's wife Hannah, his family, his colleagues and many friends in publishing and more widely," Hutchinson said in a statement.