Terry Pratchett: 1948-2015

Renowned Fantasy Author, Dies at 66

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It’s sad news today from England, where author Terry Pratchett has passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Pratchett, the author of over 70 fantasy novels, including the renowned Discworld series, was 66.

His family made the announcement on Pratchett’s Twitter account, using the all-capitals dialogue style Pratchett deployed in his books to portray the specter of death:

Larry Finlay, who worked with Pratchett at the publishing company Transworld, praised his friend.

“The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds,” he said. “Terry enriched the planet like few before him.”

Finlay further noted that Pratchett died at home, “surrounded by family.”

In a long and decorated career, Pratchett made a name for himself as one of the best fantasy authors in the world. He was knighted in 2009, and won the World Fantasy lifetime achievement award in 2010. Pratchett’s Discworld series began in 1983 with The Colour of Magic, and eventually expanded to include over 40 novels, all based in a flat world held up on the backs of four elephants, who in turn, stood on the back of a giant turtle. He was extremely prolific—some years, he would publish three books within 12 months. In 1990, he collaborated with fellow English author Neil Gaiman on the book Good Omens.

Pratchett’s work was known for including elements of razor-sharp satire and comedy within its fantasy framework. In day-to-day life, he was noted for his unique style of dress, which frequently included a trademark black fedora.

Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007 after suffering a stroke. He wrote extensively about his disease in the ensuing years, and donated large amounts to Alzheimer research. He even allowed his struggles to be documented in a BBC television program. This past July, he had to cancel a reading due to health concerns. “The embuggerance is finally catching up with me,” he wrote, using his favorite term for the disease.

Pratchett had campaigned for the right to assisted suicide after his diagnosis, but Finlay stated that his death was not self-inflicted. The author is survived by his wife Lyn and his daughter Rhianna.

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