James B. Irwin, the founder of the annual International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, took his own life on Monday evening at his home in Connecticut.

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is an annual prize give to a work of fiction, and is the biggest of its kind in the world. Nominations are made from libraries around the world, and books in any language are eligible. The winner is given a 100,000 ($146,585) prize and previous winners include “The Master" by Colm Toibin.

Irwin was a second-generation Irish -American whose grandparents, the O’Rourkes and the McCooks, came from County Clare. He grew up in the Bronx and held dual Irish and U.S. Citizenship

Police went to the 73-year-old’s home on Monday evening after receiving a call that a man at the home was threatening to kill himself.

On arrival they found an empty pistol case and a note. Shortly thereafter they heard two shots. The officers discovered Irwin with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was rushed to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, but died of his injuries.

A spokesman for the Connecticut State Police told the Hartford Courant that no suspects were being looked for in the incident.

"We believe there is no criminal aspect to it," said Lt. J. Paul Vance, confirming that detectives examined the scene as per procedure.

On Tuesday, the state medical examiner ruled that it was a suicide.

Irwin’s  life was touched by tragedy when his son was murdered, and in 2000 this led to his efforts to block the reappointment of Judge David L. Fineberg, who had worked the trial of the man charged with the killing.
Irwin argued that Fineberg was favoring the prosecution, as the man charged with the murder, John Tyler Fuessenich, was former state police commissioner Cleveland Fuessenich’s nephew. 
Fineberg was eventually  given the appointment, but Irwin’s challenge led to a Connecticut state constitutional amendment to protect the rights of crime victims.

Irwin was Chairman of Integrated Control Systems, Inc., known as IMPAC. He acquired the company in 1972 and ran it in Litchfield before to Punta Gorda, where an IMPAC University, a graduate school for business, was later established. The company filed for bankrupcy in 2004.