A renowned American writer is dead.
According to the Daily Wire, prolific author and essayist Joan Didion died this week at the age of 87 following a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“One of the country’s most trenchant writers”
Penguin Random House confirmed the death in a statement calling Didion “one of the country’s most trenchant writers and astute observers.”
From works of fiction to commentaries, her publisher noted that many “have received numerous honors and are considered modern classics.”
The Associated Press noted that Didion was born in Sacramento, California, and received encouragement from her mother at a young age to begin writing as a way to express herself. During her senior year at the University of California-Berkeley in 1956, she received her first professional writing gig as an essayist for Vogue, where her career took off.
While she initially identified as a conservative and contributed essays to National Review throughout the 1960s, she shifted to the left over the years and ultimately became a harsh critic of political journalism from both sides of the ideological spectrum.
Also during the 1960s, she met and later married fellow writer John Gregory Dunne, and the couple eventually adopted their only child, Quintana Roo Dunne Michael.
“Noticing things other people strive not to see”
In 2003, Dunne suffered a fatal heart attack. Two years later, their 39-year-old daughter died following a years-long battle with pancreatitis.
Those personal tragedies inspired two of her most beloved books, The Year of Magical Thinking about her husband and Blue Nights about the loss of her daughter.
As the Daily Wire noted, Didion was awarded the prestigious National Humanities Medal in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama, who praised her at the time as being “one of our sharpest and most respected observers of American politics and culture.”
In a tribute to the late writer, the National Endowment of the Humanities depicted Didion as someone who “devoted her life to noticing things other people strive not to see,” further asserting: “Whatever the genre, Didion’s writings are all unmistakably her own, both deeply individual — intimate, restless, and withering — and culturally astute.”
From her friends and family to her contemporaries and fans, it is clear that Didion will be missed by a wide range of Americans.