AT LAST SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER. The tweet was posted at precisely 7:06 PM, on Thursday 12 March, signifying the end of celebrated fantasy writer Sir Terry Pratchett’s long and arduous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Author of over 70 books, knighted for his contribution to literature in 2009, Sir Pratchett was best known for his silly and fantastical Discworld series; a parody of the likes of J. R. R. Tolkein based in a fictional ‘Discworld’ resting on the backs of four elephants, standing on a giant turtle.
It is from this series that perhaps his most beloved character hails; the dry witted and contemplative figure of Death. It is ‘Death’ to whom many fans have turned in tribute, with daughter Rihanna Pratchett having tweeted in the character’s signature block capitals to inform the world of his passing. “Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night”, she began, ending in a simple and poignant: “The End.”
Yet whilst Sir Pratchett’s time may have come, his legacy will live on. Not just in the world of literature, having sold over 85 million books in total, but also in his tireless campaigning for the right to assisted suicide and dementia awareness. Diagnosed in 2007, Sir Pratchett appealed personally to then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2008 for greater funding for dementia research, also appearing in a BBC documentary discussing the controversial issue of euthanasia.
Sir Terry Pratchett died Thursday morning, “surrounded by family and with his cat asleep on his bed”.
A great many quotes from his works come to mind as an oddly suitable tribute, but arguably the best comes from Death himself; DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.
Photograph: Eamonn Mccabe