'Discworld' Novelist Sir Terry Pratchett Dies at 66

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Renowned British novelist Terry Pratchett, best known for his fantasy series Discworld, died Thursday at his home in Salisbury, England. He was 66.

Pratchett was a prolific writer during his long and celebrated career, penning over 70 fantasy and science fiction novels. He completed his final book, Raising Steam, last summer.

His Discworld series, which is comprised of 40 novels, was once the best-selling fantasy series in England, before J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise took off wildly in the early 2000s.

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Pratchett was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1998, and was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II during the New Year's Honors on the last day of 2008.

Pratchett had been battling aggressive Alzheimer's for the last seven years, publically addressing his condition, which he called "an embuggerance," and working to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's research.

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"I was deeply saddened to learn that Sir Terry Pratchett has died," Larry Finlay, Pratchett's publicist, wrote on the author's website. "The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds."

Pratchett is survived by his wife Lyn and their daughter Rhianna, as well as his beloved cat, who Finlay noted was sleeping next to Pratchett when he passed, surrounded by his family.