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Monday 21 August 2017

Tributes pour in after author Terry Pratchett loses fight Alzheimer's disease

Terry Pratchett who has died at the age of 66.
Terry Pratchett who has died at the age of 66.

Best-selling author Terry Pratchett has died aged 66 after a very public struggle with Alzheimer's disease.

His death was announced to fans on Twitter in a series of messages shortly after 3pm yesterday.

They read: "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."

His daughter Rhianna later wrote: "Many thanks for all the kind words about my dad. Those last few tweets were sent with shaking hands and tear-filled eyes."

The news was confirmed by his publisher, Larry Finlay, who said he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of one of the world's "brightest, sharpest minds".

Mr Finlay, managing director at Transworld Publishers, said Terry "passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed, surrounded by his family".

He completed his last book - set like so many of his best-sellers in Discworld - last year.

"In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him. As all who read him know, Discworld was his vehicle to satirise this world; he did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention," Mr Finlay said.

"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 and to all closest to him."

The comic universe he created in Discworld - a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle - made millions laugh and made them think as well.

His sense of fun made him stand out in the often po-faced world of fantasy literature - he would turn up at conventions wearing a T-shirt saying: "Tolkien's dead, JK Rowling said no, Philip Pullman couldn't make it. Hi. I'm Terry Pratchett."

Towards the end of his life, he used his fame and wealth to campaign for a greater awareness of dementia and assisted dying.

In 2011, he featured in a documentary about suicide in which he followed a man with motor neurone disease to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to see him take a lethal dose of barbituates.

Asked why he wanted to make the film, he said it was because he was "appalled" at the state of the law.

A year earlier, he had used the prestigious Richard Dimbleby Lecture to call for assisted suicide to be legalised.

novel

Terry published his first novel, The Carpet People, in 1971 but his career really took off after the publication of the first Discworld book, The Colour Of Magic, in 1983.

His books sold millions of copies worldwide and were translated into more than 30 languages.

Asked about his success in 2009 when he was knighted, he said: "Most writers don't make money, they only happen to make some if they're standing in the station when the gravy train comes in.

"I thought I was lucky to make some money, then lucky to make a living, then lucky to be a millionaire.''

hnews@herald.ie

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