English fantasy author Terry Pratchett, 66, died Thursday from Alzheimer's disease. Pratchett, best known for his 40-book "Discworld" series, was internationally revered -- at one point, he was the United Kingdom's second-most-read writer, behind only J.K. Rowling, according to BBC News.
"The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds," publisher Larry Finlay said in a statement to BBC News. "Terry faced his Alzheimer's disease (an 'embuggerance,' as he called it) publicly and bravely. Over the last few years, it was his writing that sustained him. His legacy will endure for decades to come."
Shortly after his diagnosis eight years ago, Pratchett gave $1 million to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, and in 2009 the BBC created a documentary about his experiences. His worsening condition caused him to pull out of a public appearance at the International Discworld Convention last summer. "They say time marches on, and it does, even though I have been running very fast to keep one step ahead of it," the Guardian reported he said at the time.
These words and others will be repeated by readers all over the world as they memorialize Pratchett in the coming days. Here are a few of the writer's most famous quotes from novels and interviews, compiled by Wikiquote and GoodReads:
- "Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one."
- "In ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods. They have never forgotten this."
- "The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp."
- "Life doesn't happen in chapters — at least, not regular ones."
- "There is a rumor going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist. But it is true that in an interview I gave recently I did describe a sudden, distinct feeling I had one hectic day that everything I was doing was right and things were happening as they should."
- "While a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader, it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well."
- "If you don't turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else's story."
- "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic."
- "Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life."
- "Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."
- "The entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks."
- "Insanity is catching."
- "Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that's a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events -- the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there -- that must also be a miracle. Just because it's not nice doesn't mean it's not miraculous."
- "It occurred to me that at one point it was like I had two diseases -- one was Alzheimer's, and the other was knowing I had Alzheimer's."
- "It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life."