Fantasy writer Terry Pratchett, creator of the exuberant, satirical Discworld series and author of more than 70 books, has died. He was 66. Pratchett, who suffered from a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease, had earned wide respect in Britain and beyond with his dignified campaign for the right of critically ill patients to choose assisted suicide. Transworld Publishers says Pratchett died yesterday at his home, "with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family." The firm—whose managing director says "the world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds"—says Pratchett died of natural causes from a chest infection combined with the worsening effects of his dementia.
Pratchett, whose final book, The Shepherd's Crown, was completed last summer and will be published this year, sold more than 65 million books worldwide, and his novels have been translated into several dozen languages. During the 1990s, he was Britain's best-selling author—eventually surpassed by JK Rowling. His death was announced on his Twitter account with a series of tweets that began: "AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER." It continued: "Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night." "The End." He is survived by his wife and their daughter, Rhianna.