Pratchett in 2010, with trademark hat. Photo: Getty Images
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Sir Terry Pratchett dies aged 66 after long fight with Alzheimer's

Much-loved author passes away.

The fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett, famous for his long-running Discworld series of novels, has passed away at the age of 66, according to his publisher Transworld:

Terry passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed surrounded by his family on 12 March 2015. Diagnosed with PCA [Posterior cortical atrophy, or early-onset Alzheimer's] in 2007, he battled the progressive disease with his trademark determination and creativity, and continued 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.

We ask that the family are left undisturbed at this distressing time.

Pratchett's official Twitter account announced the news in a way instantly recognisable to many of his fans - as a very short story, starring himself and one of his most memorable characters:

(In the Discworld books, Death always speaks in block capitals.)

He is survived by his wife Lyn, his daughter Rhianna and his close friend Rob Wilkins. It had previously been announced that Rhianna would be continuing the Discworld series after his death.

Val Doone/Getty Images
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“The Hole-Up”: a poem by Matthew Sweeney

“You could taste the raw / seagull you’d killed and plucked, / the mussels you’d dug from sand, / the jellyfish that wobbled in your / hands as you slobbered it.”

Lying on your mouth and nose
on the hot sand, you recall
a trip in a boat to the island –
the fat rats that skittered about
after god-knows-what dinner,
the chubby seals staring up,
the sudden realisation that a man
on the run had wintered there
while the soldiers scoured
the entire shoreline to no avail –
you knew now you had been him
out there. You could taste the raw
seagull you’d killed and plucked,
the mussels you’d dug from sand,
the jellyfish that wobbled in your
hands as you slobbered it.
You saw again that first flame
those rubbed stones woke in
the driftwood pile, and that rat
you grilled on a spar and found
delicious. Yes, you’d been that man,
and you had to admit now you
missed that time, that life,
though you were very glad you
had no memory of how it ended.


Matthew Sweeney’s Black Moon was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Prize. His latest collection is Inquisition Lane (Bloodaxe).

This article first appeared in the 21 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The English Revolt