Bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett has died at the age of 66.
Pratchett had been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s, posterior cortical atrophy, in 2007. As the BBC reports, although after his diagnosis Sir Terry campaigned in favor of the right for assisted suicide, his publisher has confirmed that the author’s death was from natural causes.
Sir Terry Pratchett began the much loved fantasy series, Discworld, in 1983 with The Color Of Magic. By book four, Mort (1987), Pratchett had introduced as one of his main characters Death. Rather than a fear-inducing, sickle-bearing, black-cloaked figure with skeletal hand, Sir Terry’s Death was a cat-loving, curry-eating humanized figure who spoke in capitals. As the Independent reports, the character even went reveling and got drunk sometimes. In Good Omens, co-written with Neil Gaiman in 1991, there is a descriptive passage that has been taken by fans as some comfort now that the author has passed away.
“DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING, JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.”
— Kas Thomas (@kasthomas) March 12, 2015
Indeed, thousands of Pratchett’s fans have actually signed a change.org petition to bring him back from the dead, seizing on the late author’s words, “There are times in life when people must know when not to let go.” As the Inquisitr reported, the writer’s words have often been taken as great motivational quotes. Speaking of her high esteem for Sir Terry’s talent, crime writer Val McDermid praised his fresh take on the fantasy genre.
“He looked at the world differently from other fantasy writers. When he started there was no humor or women in fantasy, but but he gave us a whole array of women. He painted this wide canvas of all sorts of people.”
— stylenoir (@stylenoir) March 12, 2015
Appointed an OBE in 1998 for services to literature and knighted in 2009, humor was certainly never far from Pratchett’s written repertoire, nor in his ability to cope with his disease, as his publisher, Larry Finlay, recounted.
“Terry faced his Alzheimer’s disease (an ’embuggerance’, as he called it) publicly and bravely. Over the last few years, it was his writing that sustained him. His legacy will endure for decades to come.”
Pratchett became a patron of Alzheimer’s Research in 2008 and donated £500,000 (circa $740,000) to the Trust. He later partnered with the BBC to record a two-part documentary of his experience of the illness. In recent times, Pratchett had had to dictate his work to an assistant. His final, emotional tweet was posted by his assistant after Sir Terry’s death.
“‘AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.’
“Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.
— NPR Books (@nprbooks) March 12, 2015
RIP, Sir Terry Pratchett (April 28, 1948 – March 12, 2015).
[Image courtesy of Oli Scarff/Getty Images]