Sir Terry Pratchett, the renowned author of several fantasy novels, has died at the age of 66. He died at his home surrounding by his family, eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Pratchett’s publishers Transworld confirmed his passing, saying “The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds.” Earlier on Thursday, the author had composed a series of moving posts on his Twitter account.

In a writing career spanning over four decades, the much-loved author wrote more than 70 books that have been translated into 37 languages. At the turn of century, he was the second-most-read author in Britain, exceeded only by ‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling.

Terry Pratchett
Sir Terry Pratchett, pictured here at the British Academy Television Awards in 2012

Pratchett most famously wrote the mammoth ‘Discworld’ series of novels, which were based in a flat world perched on the backs of four elephants that in turn stood on the back of a giant turtle. It started in 1983 with ‘The Colour of Magic’ and, by the time of his death, consisted of 41 instalments. The last of these, ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’, was Pratchett’s final work completed last summer, and is due to be published in September this year.

Tributes have flooded in from both the literary world and fans alike. His friend and fellow author Neil Gaiman was just one, writing on his website “There was nobody like him. I was fortunate to have written a book with him, when we were younger, which taught me so much.” Gaiman finished by saying “I will miss you, Terry, so much”.

Despite publicly campaigning to change the law in Britain regarding assisted suicide after his diagnosis, it is understood that Pratchett did not take his own life. The BBC’s Nick Higham reported: “I was told by the publishers his death was entirely natural and unassisted, even though he had said in the past he wanted to go at a time of his own choosing.”

A JustGiving page set up in tribute to Pratchett to raise funds for a charity that cares for those with Alzheimer’s has already raised thousands of pounds.

He is survived by his wife Lyn and daughter Rhianna.

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