Ray Bradbury, the man who penned hundreds of short stories and twenty-seven novels – among them Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, and The Martian Chronicles – has passed away at the age of 91.
According to a written statement by HarperCollins, the author “died peacefully, last night, in Los Angeles, after a lengthy illness.”
Bradbury received several awards for his contributions as a writer, including the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts and a 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation.
Bradbury’s grandson, Danny Karapetian, had the following to say about his passing:
“If I had to make any statement, it would be how much I love and miss him, and I look forward to hearing everyone’s memories about him. He influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it’s always really touching and comforting to hear their stories. Your stories. His legacy lives on in his monumental body of books, film, television and theater, but more importantly, in the minds and hearts of anyone who read him, because to read him was to know him. He was the biggest kid I know.”
Also lamenting the loss of one of literature’s finest pioneers is author Stephen King who, referring to Bradbury’s short story A Sound of Thunder, said that, “The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.”
“He was my muse for the better part of my sci-fi career,” stated director Stephen Spielberg. “He lives on through his legion of fans. In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal.”
In a 2005 book of essays, Bradbury wrote of his success: “In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I’ve worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior.”
Bradbury is survived by his four daughters – Susan Nixon, Ramona Ostergren, Bettina Karapetian and Alexandra Bradbury – and eight grandchildren. (His wife, Marguerite, died in 2003.) He will be missed greatly, but his legacy will live on forever.
Feel free to leave a comment with your favourite Bradbury story or passage from one of his books.