Best-selling author Terry Pratchett has died at the age of 66, his publishers Transworld have announced.
Transworld, said "the world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds" and that that the author had passed away at home surrounded by his family, with his cat sleeping on his bed.
"In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him," said Larry Finlay, MD at Transworld.
"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."
Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.— Terry Pratchett (@terryandrob) March 12, 2015
Pratchett's Twitter account, sent a short series of messages this afternoon featuring the personification of Death, a recurring character in the author's popular Discworld series.
"AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER," the first read, in the recognisable all-caps used in the character's dialogue.
"Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night," the next read, before being followed with a simple: The End.
The messages are believed to have been written by his daughter, Rhianna, who also tweeted them from her own account. She followed them with her own message, thanking fans for their kind wishes.
Many thanks for all the kind words about my dad. Those last few tweets were sent with shaking hands and tear-filled eyes.— Rhi Pratchett (@rhipratchett) March 12, 2015
Pratchett had been suffering from the posterior cortical atrophy version of early-onset Alzheimers for a number of years, and had worked as a Professor of English at Trinity College Dublin since 2010.
Speaking about his disease and the media coverage of his condition, Pratchett said: " ”If I had been Terry Pratchett the farmer, or Terry Pratchett the dentist, nobody would have paid any attention if I had announced I had Alzheimer’s.
"But there is something fascinating about an author losing the power over words."
It is believed his final Discworld novel, The Shepherd's Crown, will be published later this year - according to his long-time illustrator Paul Kidby, who said he was drawing the cover art last month.
A memorial fundraiser has been set up by his publisher for the Research Institute for the Care of Older People.
Pratchett was also an advocated of the right to die and assisted death, with appropriate safeguards. In 2009, he said: ”Legal or not, I intend to end my life on the lawn of my house with a glass of brandy in my hand”.