LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — Prolific fantasy and science fiction author Sir Terry Pratchett, creator of the Discworld series, has died at the age of 66.
Pratchett penned more than 70 books, including more than 40 books in the sprawling, satirical Rimworld series, selling more than 65 million books over the course of his career.
He was recognized a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2009 for his services to literature.
Transworld Publishers said Pratchett died Thursday at his home, "with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family" after a battle with posterior cortical atrophy, a rare type of early onset Alzheimer's disease.
Pratchett disclosed his diagnosis to fans in 2007 and in his final years, became an eloquent champion of assisted suicide for terminal patients.
"I have vowed that rather than let Alzheimer's take me, I would take it," he said in his adddress at the prestigious Richard Dimbleby lecture in February 2010. "I would live my life as ever to the full and die, before the disease mounted its last attack, in my own home, in a chair on the lawn, with a brandy in my hand to wash down whatever modern version of the Brompton Cocktail some helpful medic could supply. And with Thomas Tallis on my iPod, I would shake hands with death."
In a statement from Pratchett's publisher, managing director Larry Finlay wrote:
"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."
A Just Giving page donating to the Research Institute to the Care of Older People (RICE) has been set up in his memory: justgiving.com/Terry-Pratchett. – Staff Writers