“‘Wheel of Time’ author dead at 58
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) — Author Robert Jordan, whose “Wheel of Time” series of fantasy novels sold millions of copies, has died of a rare blood disease, his aide said Monday. He was 58.
Jordan, whose real name was James Oliver Rigney Jr., died Sunday at the Medical University of South Carolina of complications from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy, his personal assistant, Maria Simons, said. The disease attacks the body’s major organs; in Jordan’s case, it caused the walls of his heart to thicken.
He wrote a trilogy of historical novels set in Charleston under the pen name Reagan O’Neal in the early 1980s. Then he turned his attention to fantasy and the first volume in his Wheel of Time epic, “The Eye of the World,” was published in 1990 under the name Robert Jordan.
Jordan’s books tells of Rand al’Thor, who is destined to become the champion who will battle ultimate evil in a mythical land.
Book 11, “Knife of Dreams,” came out in 2005; there was also a prequel, “New Spring: The Novel,” in 2004. The other titles in the series include “The Great Hunt,” “Lord of Chaos” and “The Path of Daggers.” Jordan was working on a 12th volume at the time of his death, Simons said.
He is survived by his wife, Harriet McDougal Rigney.”
I would count Robert Jordan as one of the top fantasy authors who got me into writing in the first place. Many criticize that his epic style of writing went overly long–and I myself only got as far as book six of his “WOT” series. But it still is sad to hear he passed away just as he was working on the last book.
This, coupled with Madeline L’engle’s death a week ago, is truly shaping to be a sad month for the fantasy world indeed.