Sir Terry Pratchett, the author best known for his Discworld series, has died aged 66. His novels weaved fantasy, science fiction, satire and whimsy to great effect -- more than 80 million Discworld books have been sold worldwide. Despite publishing over 70 books and battling illness, Pratchett still found time to back fledgling writers through his First Novel Award, which every two years gives a publishing contract to the author of an unpublished science fiction novel.
Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease eight years ago, and his health had deteriorated since. The news broke today through a moving series of tweets posted to the author's Twitter account. "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 ... The End."
Accompanying the tweets is a link to a statement from Penguin Random House, the parent company of Pratchett's publisher Transworld. In the statement, Larry Finlay, MD at Transworld, says "the world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds ... As all who read him know, Discworld was his vehicle to satirize this world: he did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention."
Pratchett is survived by his wife Lyn and his daughter Rhianna, who has followed her father into creative writing, penning the script for 2013's Tomb Raider and other games. The statement adds that Pratchett managed to finish his final Discworld novel, titled The Shepherd's Crown, which is due out later this year, and ends with a link to a JustGiving page raising money for the Alzheimer's disease charity RICE.
[Image credit: Rob Wilkins]