RIP Michael Crichton

I'm sure I'm not alone in being saddened and surprised that Michael Crichton passed away on Election Day:
    Michael Crichton, whose contributions to pop culture ranged from the human drama of ER and Disclosure to the sci-fi adventures Jurassic Park and the Andromeda Strain, has died after what his family called "a private battle with cancer." He was 66.

    "While the world knew him as a great storyteller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us ... family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes," his family said in a statement. "He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget."
It's more shocking for me because I just finished re-reading two of his finest works, and was really looking forward to another book. I am struggling to think of another writer who has done more for my love of fiction or imagination, and one who has died in my lifetime, but I'm at a loss. As my friend Melissa appropriately understated: "Bummer."

Bonus: Here's footage of Crichton talking with Matt Lauer about State Of Fear, one of those books I loved and reviewed:

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