Heo passed away at around 7:50 p.m. on Wednesday at her home in Germany, Kim Min-jeong, the head of Nanda, Heo's publisher, told Yonhap News Agency. Heo will be buried in a woodland in Germany, Kim said, citing Heo's acquaintance.
Since her debut in 1987, Heo's regular subjects have been human hunger, grief and longing. Her life as an outsider in Germany added a layer of melancholy to her works, critics have said.
After publishing two collections of poems in South Korea, Heo went to Germany in 1992 where she earned a doctorate degree in archaeology for the ancient Near East at University of Munster.
She continued to author new poems there and went on to publish a total of six books of poetry.
Heo was awarded a number of literary prizes, including the Dongsuh Literary Award.
Born in 1964 in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, Heo majored in Korean literature at Gyeongsang National University before working as a staff writer for TV programs. She is survived by her husband, whom she met in Germany as a student. (Yonhap)