'Angela's Ashes'' author Frank McCourt dead at 78
Tributes pour in from Irish America as celebrated writer dies
"Scatter my ashes on the Shannon." That was the last request from Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Angela’s Ashes."
McCourt died at a Manhattan hospice today surrounded by family and friends who had been keeping vigil with his wife Ellen over the past week.
McCourt had recently been treated for melanoma but became gravely ill with meningitis last week.
NIall O'Dowd, the publisher of IrishCentral.com said "The greatest tribute I can pay Frank McCourt is that he never lost the run of himself.
In May 2009 a publicist for McCourt first confirmed to the press that he had cancer.
McCourt was being treated for melanoma, said his agent Molly Friedrich, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Although the sad news was greeted with shock today in the Irish community, in May McCourt’s well-known brother Malachy initially sought to calm nerves by telling the press the reports were “exaggerated” and that his brother was “a hearty fellow and he’s survived worse than this.”
On hearing of his death today critics have begun the task of assessing McCourt’s legacy.
It would be hard to understate his achievements.
As the author of “Angela’s Ashes,” a searing and unforgettable account of his impoverished Irish upbringing in Limerick - that spent a remarkable 117 weeks on The New York Times hardcover best-seller list - McCourt has assured his place in the august company of great Irish writers.
Despite the poverty, abuse, and countless sorrows of his deprived Irish Catholic upbringing, “Angela’s Ashes” has a wry tone that has the power to make the reader laugh out loud on almost every page.
No Irish writer since Jonathan Swift has had McCourt’s skill to address and implicate the reader in the tale he is telling.
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