John Updike, the prolific, Pulitzer-winning writer, has died at 76. The cause was lung cancer.
Perhaps best known for his tetrology of Rabbit novels, the Pennsylvania-born Updike was famed for his distinctive, stylized portrayal of contemporary America and a body of work that included 25 novels, 12 story collections, children's books and a wide body of criticism. Updike was known for his mordant observation of suburban mores - particularly adultery - and his political outspokenness. For the latter part of his life, Updike lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts, fictionalized in the 1984 novel The Witches of Eastwick. While he'll leave a gaping hole in the literary landscape, he'd probably appreciate our quoting his own words: "The great thing about the dead, they make space." [CNN, Academy of Achievement, New York Times]