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Best-selling author dies at 66

books Updated: Nov 06, 2008 12:12 IST

DPA
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Best-selling US author Michael Crichton has died at the age of 66 from cancer, his family said in a statement on Wednesday.

Crichton, who produced best-sellers like "Jurassic Park" and "The Andromeda Strain" died in a Los Angeles hospital on Tuesday, the statement said.

"While the world knew him as a great story teller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us - and entertained us all while doing so - his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes," the statement said.

"He did this with a wry sense of humour that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget," it added.

Born in Chicago in 1942, Crichton studied medicine at Harvard and went on to become a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

His first best-seller, "The Andromeda Strain", was published while he was still a medical student. He later worked full-time on film and writing.

"Michael's talent out-scaled even his own dinosaurs of Jurassic Park," said director Steven Spielberg 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. 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."

One of the most popular writers in the world, whose last novel "Next" was published in 2006, Crichton's books have been translated into 36 languages, and 13 have been made into films.

Crichton won an Emmy and Writer's Guild of America Award for creating the hit TV hospital drama "ER". He was an executive producer of the show which is now in its 15th season.