Got Dem Bad Ol' Ankh-Morpork Blues...
Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's
The best-selling fantasy author Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
In a brief note to fans, Pratchett, 59, said he was taking the news "fairly philosophically".
"I am not dead," Pratchett insisted. "I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else."
Writing on the website of Paul Kidby, who has illustrated many of his books, he continued: "I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems unfair to withhold the news."
Pratchett is best known for his Discworld series, which explores the residents of a very flat, very weird and almost invariably hilarious planet dominated by the sprawling, chaotic city of Ankh-Morpork. To date, he has sold more than 55 million books and seen his series translated into 27 languages.
In October, doctors told the author he had suffered a mini-stroke two or three years ago. He had medical tests after having problems with his dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination.
After a series of scans, he was diagnosed with a very rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's as a result of the stroke.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, and people in the early stages may experience lapses of memory and have problems finding the right words. As the disease progresses, they become confused and forget names, appointments and recent events.
He said: "I know it's a very human thing to say, 'Is there anything I can do?' but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry."
He said he was continuing to work on the completion of his next book, Nation.
I am devastated to hear this. Terry is a client of the same literary agency as I am, and was a Penguin/NAL author when I was, which was how I became aware of him, through our mutual editor Christopher Schelling (now our mutual agent), and of course I absolutely adore him and his work.
It is SO bloody unfair. And so horrible...for a writer to lose his words, and to realize he's losing them...I can't even imagine, and I wouldn't wish such a fate even on Oliver Stone.
I spoke to Christopher about it, and he said that Terry is remarkably cheerful about it, all things considered, and has finished one book and is forging ahead on another. I hate even to consider that there might soon be a world without Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg and Magrat.
But, as Granny says, "I aten't dead yet." And I hope and pray that Terry will be saying that for a good many years to come, in complete health. And with new and equally wonderful books.