He became a vocal supporter of assisted suicide — or assisted dying as he felt it should be called — and used his position as one of Britain’s most respected authors to argue eloquently for it.
Pratchett, the British author whose fantasy novels sold in their tens of millions worldwide, died of a form of Alzheimer’s disease aged 66.
News about the death came on his Twitter account in a series of tweets written in the style of his Discworld novels, where Death always talks in capital letters.
“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER,” said the first tweet on @terryandrob. “Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night,” said the second, a third read: “The End”.
AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.— Terry Pratchett (@terryandrob) March 12, 2015
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
The End.— Terry Pratchett (@terryandrob) March 12, 2015
Pratchett died at home surrounded by his family with his cat sleeping on his bed, Transworld Publishers said.
The author, who wore a trademark broad-brimmed black hat, was diagnosed in 2007 with posterior cortical atrophy, a progressive degenerative condition. Continuing to write, he completed his last book, a new Discworld novel, in the summer of 2014 before succumbing to the final stages of the disease.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter: “His books fired the imagination of millions and he fearlessly campaigned for dementia awareness.”
His publishers said the world had lost “one of its brightest, sharpest minds”. “In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him,” said Larry Finlay, managing director at Transworld, a division of Penguin Random House.
“As all who read him know, Discworld was his vehicle to satirise this world. He did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention,” he said.
‘He spent time with fans and saw them as friends’
‘He spent time with fans and saw them as friends’
Tributes flooded in for the author Terry Pratchett yesterday.
Sarah Wootton, CEO of Dignity in Dying, said: “I am saddened to hear of the death of Dignity in Dying Patron Sir Terry Pratchett and our thoughts are with his family and close friend Rob Wilkins.
“Terry was a committed campaigner who did an enormous amount to bring assisted dying for terminally ill people to the public’s attention.”
Terry Pratchett Remember the Discworld author with this moving right to die video http://t.co/vlWfhA36cx— Sarah Wootton (@sarah_wootton) March 12, 2015
Comedian Ricky Gervais said on Twitter: “‘It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.’ RIP the brilliant Terry Pratchett.’’
"It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it." RIP the brilliant Terry Pratchett.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) March 12, 2015
Fellow author and friend Neil Gaiman, said: “Thirty years and a month ago, a beginning author met a young journalist in a Chinese Restaurant, and the two men became friends, and they wrote a book, and they managed to stay friends despite everything.
He was my friend for thirty years and a month. I miss him. Donate to Alzheimer's research and make it so things like this don't happen.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 12, 2015
“There was nobody like him. I was fortunate to have written a book with him, when we were younger, which taught me so much. I’ll miss you, Terry.”
The last thing Terry and I did together: http://t.co/KN1VkPQvcn— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 13, 2015
Jason Anthony, editor of Pratchett fanzine Discworld Monthly, told BBC News: “He paid back his fans for buying the books by spending time with them and thought of them as his friends.”
Actor Sir Tony Robinson told BBC News: ``Everybody who reads his work would agree his finest creation was his character Death.“Any fans of his will know Terry in some way has shaken hands with one of his greatest creations.”11 DEATH Pratchett Tributes
Author Margaret Atwood tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the death of #terrypratchett. I vastly enjoy his playful, smart #Discworld books.’’
Crime writer Val McDermid also tweeted her sympathies following the news. She said: “The world is a less fantastic place tonight. RIP Terry Pratchett.“Sympathies to all who loved him. And to us readers who loved his creations. No more Nac Mac Feegles, Sam Vimes et al...”
RIP Terry Pratchett. Sympathies to all who loved him. And to us readers who loved his creations. No more Nac Mac Feegles, Sam Vimes et al...— Val McDermid (@valmcdermid) March 12, 2015
American actress Mara Wilson, most famous for playing Matilda in the 1996 film, tweeted: “Crying. Good Omens meant so much to me. I read it while 15 and miserable, my mom read it while sick with cancer. Thank you, #TerryPratchett.”
Crying. Good Omens meant so much to me. I read it while 15 and miserable, my mom read it while sick with cancer. Thank you, #TerryPratchett.— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) March 12, 2015