Clarke's non-fiction volumes on space travel and his explorations of the Great Barrier reef and Indian ocean earned him respect in the world of science, and in 1976 he became an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
But it was his writing that shot him to his greatest fame.
"Sometimes I am asked how I would like to be remembered," Clarke said recently. "I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these I would like to be remembered as a writer."
From 1950, he began a prolific output of both fiction and non-fiction, sometimes publishing three books in a year. He published his best-selling 3001: The Final Odyssey when he was 79.
When Clarke and Kubrick got together to develop a movie about space, they used as basic ideas several of Clarke's shorter pieces, including The Sentinel, written in 1948, and Encounter in the Dawn.
As work progressed on the screenplay, Clarke also wrote a novel of the story. He followed it up with 2010, 2061, and 3001: The Final Odyssey.
Disabled by post-polio syndrome, the lingering effects of a disease that had paralysed him for two months in 1959, Clarke rarely left his home in the Indian ocean island of Sri Lanka.
He moved there in 1956, lured by his interest in marine diving which, he said, was as close as he could get to the weightless feeling of space.
"I'm perfectly operational underwater," he once said.
At a 90th birthday party thrown for Clarke in December, the author said he had three wishes: for Sri Lanka's raging civil war to end, for the world to embrace cleaner sources of energy and for evidence of extraterrestrial beings to be discovered.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Clarke said he did not regret having never followed his novels into space, adding that he had arranged to have DNA from strands of his hair sent into orbit.
"One day, some super civilization may encounter this relic from the vanished species and I may exist in another time," he said. "Move over, Stephen King."
Clarke married in 1953, and was divorced in 1964. He had no children.