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Terry Pratchett, Prolific Fantasy Author, Dies At 66

Terry Pratchett at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards in London.

Sir Terry Pratchett, the prolific author behind the Discworld series, has died at the age of 66. The British writer had struggled with a rare, early-onset form Alzheimer's disease for the better part of a decade.

His publisher, Transworld Books, confirmed news of the writer's death in a tweet Thursday morning.

Over the course of a career that spanned more than four decades, Pratchett earned both plaudits and popularity. His novels — brimming with witches and dwarves, magic and metamorphoses — went on to sell more than 75 million copies internationally. Remarkably, he seemed to write nearly as many novels as he sold — most of which were set in his fantastical Discworld, a flat disc of a literary universe, borne on the backs of gigantic elephants that, in turn, ride a gigantic turtle.

Pratchett announced his "embuggerance" — as he called his posterior cortical atrophy — in 2007. Since then, he has continued to write.

In an essay published last year, author Neil Gaiman, who collaborated with Pratchett on the book Good Omens, commented on the loving fury that fuels the best of Pratchett's fantasies.

"I suppose that, if you look quickly and are not paying attention, you might, perhaps, mistake it for jolly," wrote Gaiman. "But beneath any jollity there is a foundation of fury. Terry Pratchett is not one to go gentle into any night, good or otherwise."

Pratchett died at home, the BBC reports. He is survived by his wife, Lyn, and his daughter, Rhianna, as well as a devoted readership unlikely to take his passing lightly.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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