Fantasy author Terry Pratchett passed away

Terry Pratchett, the British writer behind the Discworld fantasy series, has died at age 66. Pratchett had suffered from a rare form of Alzheimer’s for years, but last summer delivered a new book in the Discworld series.

The author, who has turned 66, died at his home, surrounded by his family. “The world has lost one of its sharpest minds,” his publisher said in a statement. Pratchett had suffered from dementia since 2007.

Pratchett wrote more than seventy books, mostly fantasy. Much of it, over forty, appeared in the popular Discworld book series. In that comic fantasy series, Pratchett parodied well-known authors such as Tolkien, Lovecraft and Shakespeare.

The first book in the Discworld series came out in 1983; last summer the last book came out, despite his dementia. Pratchett’s death does not have to mean the end of the series: the author has indicated that he would be happy if his daughter Rhianna Pratchett, also an author, takes over.

The author suffered from posterior cortical atrophy, an extremely rare form of Alzheimer’s, although some scientists suspect that it is a separate disease. In contrast to regular dementia, patients with PCA do not initially suffer from a poorer memory, although this may be the case at a later stage. However, PCa patients have difficulty doing calculations and spelling words.