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Jurassic Park author dies at 66

Arts news The bestselling US writer Michael Crichton dies of cancer.

Michael Crichton in 1975.
Michael Crichton in 1975.

LOS ANGELES // The bestselling US author Michael Crichton, who wrote such novels as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park and created the popular TV drama ER, has died of cancer at age 66, his family said yesterday. Crichton, a medical doctor turned novelist and filmmaker whose books have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles after what his family described as a "courageous and private battle against cancer".

"Michael's talent outscaled even his own dinosaurs of Jurassic Park," the filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who directed the blockbuster movie version of that novel and its sequel, The Lost World, said in a statement. "He was the greatest at blending science with big theatrical concepts, which is what gave credibility to dinosaurs again walking the Earth." Spielberg added: "Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place."

The family statement, which was released through a publicist, called Crichton's death "unexpected" but released few other details about his passing and requested privacy. Born in Chicago on Oct 23, 1942, Crichton wrote his first novels while attending Harvard Medical School. He was awarded his medical degree in 1969, the same year his first major bestseller, The Andromeda Strain, was published.