Much loved author Sir Terry Pratchett died today aged 66.
After being diagnosed with a rare, early-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago, he became a vocal campaigner for Alzheimer’s research and assisted suicide.
He said on the subject:
â€œI would like to die peacefully with Thomas Tallis on my iPod before the disease takes me over,â€ he continued, â€œand I hope that will not be for quite some time to come, because if I knew that I could die at any time I wanted, then suddenly every day would be as precious as a million pounds. If I knew that
I could die, I would live. My life, my death, my choice.â€
But his publishers said his death today was entirely natural and unassisted.
“The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds,” said Larry Finlay of his publishers Transworld. He “enriched the planet like few before him” and through Discworld satirised the world “with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention.”
The author died at home, surrounded by his family, “with his cat sleeping on his bed”, he added.
Friend and fellow author Neil Gaiman, who collaborated with Terry on the 1990 novel Good Omens, wrote:
"I woke up and my email was all condolences from friends, and requests for statements from journalists, and I knew it had happened. I’d been warned.
Thirty years and a month ago, a beginning author met a young journalist in a Chinese Resaurant, and the two men became friends, and they wrote a book, and they managed to stay friends despite everything. Last night, the author died.
There was nobody like him. I was fortunate to have written a book with him, when we were younger, which taught me so much.
This was the last thing I wrote about Terry. I knew his death was coming and it made it no easier:
I’ll miss you, Terry.
I’m not up to writing anything yet. Maybe one day."
His death was announced on his Twitter account, written in his inimitable style so beloved by the millions who enjoyed his books.
His final Discworld novel "The Shepherd’s Crown" was completed last year and is due to be published in September 2015. Another novel “The Long Utopia”, the fourth book in an intended five-part series written in collaboration with Stephen Baxter, is due to be published on 18th June 2015.
For those of us who got so much pleasure from the fantastic humour, wondrous philosophy and twisted logic in his writing, there will never be anything to fill the void left by his passing.
The progression of his disease had affected his ability to write in recent years, but his sharp mind and fantastic imagination was still evident. We knew that eventually the end would come and he could write no more. But the day we have dreaded for so long has come much too soon. The only comfort is the knowledge that he did not have to endure the slow, unbearable end which he feared might be his future.
I cannot think of an appropriate quote to end on. So I shall borrow from the other author whose work I consider wholly responsible for preserving my sanity through a difficult couple of decades:
So long, and thanks for all the Disc