The son of writers Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes committed suicide last week, hanging himself at his home in Fairbanks, Alaska, following a battle with depression, reports the Times of London. Nicholas Hughes, 47, was a professor of fisheries and ocean sciences but had recently left his position to take up pottery. His mother killed herself in 1963, when he was still a toddler, after his father left her for another woman.
Nicholas Hughes' suicide adds another grim chapter to the story of one of modern literature's grimmest families. Six years after Plath's suicide—on March 23, 1969, 40 years ago today—Ted Hughes' second wife, Assia Wevill, killed herself in a similar manner, by turning on the gas in the oven without lighting it, murdering their daughter in the process. While doctors accept that depression can be inherited, a family friend said last night that "it would be wrong to think of Nick as some kind of inevitably tragic figure."