Terry Pratchett, Author of Fantasy 'Discworld' Novels, Dies at 66

Image: FILE PHOTO: Author Terry Pratchett Dies Aged 66
FILE PHOTO: Author Terry Pratchett has died from Alzheimers disease aged 66 Terry Pratchett At The 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards At The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)John Phillips / Getty Images Contributor

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Terry Pratchett, the British author of the popular "Discworld" series of fantasy novels, has died of a form of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 66, his publishing house said on Thursday.

Pratchett died at home surrounded by his family with his cat sleeping on his bed, said Larry Finlay, Transworld Publishers' managing director.

Pratchett penned over 70 books, selling more than 75 million copies around the world and becoming one of the U.K.'s most cherished writers. The "Discworld" series was first published in the 1980s, and played off the themes of magic, wizards and witches — a precursor to the "Harry Potter" books.

"As all who read him know, 'Discworld' was his vehicle to satirize this world: he did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention," Finlay said in a statement.

"Terry faced his Alzheimer's disease (an 'embuggerance', as he called it) publicly and bravely," Finlay added. "Over the last few years, it was his writing that sustained him. His legacy will endure for decades to come."

Pratchett completed his last book, a new "Discworld" novel, last summer before succumbing to the final stages of Alzheimer's, Finlay said.

A file picture dated June 15, 2012 of British novelist Terry Pratchett during an interview in Zurich, Switzerland. Pratchett died at the age of 66, his publisher announced on March 12. Pratchett, who is best known for his Discworld fantasy novels, died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.ALESSANDRO DELLA BELLA / EPA file


— NBC News and Reuters