Mr. Updike passed away. Cancer was the cause. This is what the New York Times had to say:
John Updike, the kaleidoscopically gifted writer whose quartet of Rabbit Angstrom novels highlighted so vast and protean a body of fiction, verse, essays and criticism as to place him in the first rank of among American men of letters, died on Tuesday. He was 76 and lived in Beverly Farms, Mass.
I respect Mr. Updike. He’s published more books and stories than most men can ever dream of. His writing touched the soul easily, flowed in the proper way and connected without the silly effort of tired plot lines or contrived sentences. He truly was the best. But don’t trust my words, trust his.
“I don’t know what I’d do with my mornings if I didn’t write in them,” Updike says in a telephone interview from his home in Beverly, Mass. “There are pleasures to writing — you kind of get out a lot of your bad secretions. You can purge yourself of them through writing. And there’s still some market for what I have to say. On the other hand, I notice some signs of mental deterioration. My memory isn’t as good; I can’t think of words. I might forget what one character’s eyes are. Maybe each novel might be the last — but no, I’m not quite ready yet. There’s still the illusion that I’m still learning this curious trade, for which there’s very little coherent instruction. I never once believed in writing schools; this is very much an amateurish endeavor, so that the chance of growing in it is still there for a 76-year-old.”