Author and newspaper columnist Jeffrey Zaslow is dead at age 53 after a car accident in Michigan today, reports the Detroit Free Press and Wall Street Journal. Zaslow is perhaps best known for his book Last Lecture, about the final lecture of the late Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, but he first gained fame in the late 1980s as a writer for the Journal. He wrote a first-person article about the Chicago Sun-Times' search for a replacement for Ann Landers—and ended up getting the job himself over 12,000 applicants. He wrote the advice column until 2001.
Zaslow, who had returned to the Journal as a columnist, also co-authored the recent biography of Gabrielle Giffords (Gabby) and wrote a bio of Hudson River hero Sully Sullenberger (Highest Duty). The Free Press recounts Zaslow talking about Pausch's advice to him to hug his three daughters. “What a gift it is to be able to do that. And that’s sort of the story I’m telling in this book,” Zaslow said of his latest, The Magic Room. "We’ve got to hug our kids and make the most of each moment, because you never know.” (Read more Jeffrey Zaslow stories.)