Sir Terry Pratchett Has Died Aged 66

    The author of the Discworld series died surrounded by his family.

    Sir Terry Pratchett has died at the age of 66.

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    In a statement, Larry Finlay, MD at Transworld Publishers, said:

    I was deeply saddened to learn that Sir Terry Pratchett has died. The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds.

    In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him. 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.

    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.

    My sympathies go out to Terry's wife Lyn, their daughter Rhianna, to his close friend Rob Wilkins, and to all closest to him.

    Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12th March 2015. Diagnosed with PCA1 in 2007, he battled the progressive disease with his trademark determination and creativity, and continued to write. He completed his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014, before succumbing to the final stages of the disease.

    We ask that the family are left undisturbed at this distressing time.

    The news was announced on the author's verified 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.

    Terry Pratchett was born in 1948 in Beaconsfield.

    Oli Scarff / Getty Images

    As he wrote in the biography at the start of his books, “he started work as a journalist in 1965 and saw his first corpse three hours later, work experience meaning something in those days”. He later worked for the Central Electricity Generating Board as a press officer for four nuclear power stations; as the biography continued, “He’d write a book about his experiences if he thought anyone would believe it.”

    Pratchett had already written a series of children’s books, including Strata and The Carpet People, when the Discworld series made him famous. He said of the series: "It started out as a parody of all the fantasy that was around in the big boom of the early '80s, then turned into a satire on just about everything, and even I don't know what it is now."

    He published The Colour of Magic in 1983, and by 1987 was able to leave his job and write full-time. His prolific output saw him produce approximately two books a year, including various collaborations with other authors – the most famous being Good Omens, co-written with Neil Gaiman, which told the story of an angel and a demon attempting to save the world from the apocalypse. (The unwritten sequel was to be entitled 668: The Neighbour of the Beast.) As of November 2013, sales of the Discworld series stood at more than 75 million copies.

    In December 2008, it was announced that he was to be knighted – a year after revealing that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease.

    In his later years Pratchett became known for his campaign to promote assisted dying.

    Ian Gavan / Getty Images

    In 2011 he made a film that included footage of a man's death at a Dignitas clinic.

    In a piece published in The Guardian in May, Pratchett wrote powerfully about living with dementia.

    Tim Whitby / Getty Images

    He wrote: "As you may already know, I live with dementia. Unlike 800,000 people with a form of the condition, I struggle with a rarer type, which holds me back in ways I never thought possible. But what I do share with the hundreds of thousands living with this tricksy condition is disbelief at the stigma and shame still surrounding a disease that affects the brain and which can ultimately affect as many as one in three of us."

    Prominent figures paid tribute to the author on Twitter:

    Sad to hear of Sir Terry Pratchett's death, his books fired the imagination of millions and he fearlessly campaigned for dementia awareness.

    "It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it." RIP the brilliant Terry Pratchett.

    Penguin Books announced that a fundraising page for the Care of Older People had been set up in his memory.

    A @JustGiving page for the Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE) has been set up in his memory http://t.co/E9hiKdtjCk

    Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, told ITV News: "I am saddened to hear of the death of Dignity in Dying Patron Sir Terry Pratchett and our thoughts are with his family and close friend Rob Wilkins. Terry was a committed campaigner who did an enormous amount to bring assisted dying for terminally ill people to the public's attention."

    Pratchett's daughter expressed her thanks for the support she'd received.

    Many thanks for all the kind words about my dad. Those last few tweets were sent with shaking hands and tear-filled eyes.

    And there were other moving tributes.

    The t-shirt that Terry Pratchett wore to conventions:

    DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH. – TERRY PRATCHETT (1948-2015)

    “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...” Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

    His sometime collaborator Neil Gaiman tweeted this:

    I will miss you, Terry, so much. This is the last thing I wrote about you. http://t.co/YKAFrKjkLc

    And his wife this:

    woke up early, checked my Patreon feed & someone had posted the sad news about Terry Pratchett. went to bed, held neil, told him, held him.

    Terry Pratchett: 28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015.

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    Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

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