BEAUFORT, S.C. (CBSLA.com/AP) — Author Pat Conroy has died.
The acclaimed best-selling author of such works as “The Prince of Tides,” “The Great Santini” and “The Water is Wide,” announced a month ago that he had pancreatic cancer.
He died at his home Friday surrounded by friends and family.
When he announced he had cancer, Conroy didn’t give many details about his diagnosis or a prognosis. But he promised to “fight it hard” and told his fans “I owe you a novel and I intend to deliver it.”
Conroy was known for his theatrical writing style. It’s why many of his books translated so well to the large and small screen.
Barbra Streisand, who starred in and directed 1991’s “Prince of Tides,” issued a statement Saturday.
“First, I fell in love with Pat Conroy’s book … and then I fell in love with him. He was generous and kind, humble and loving…such a joy to work with. I was so honored that he entrusted his beautiful book to me. Pat’s natural language was poetry…he wrote sentences that are like an incantation. He observed every nuance of human behavior and dug deep down to the truth…presenting it in all its glorious and stubborn complexity. I am so sad today. I lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a great writer.”
“The Water is Wide” became 1974’s “Conrack” starring Jon Voight and a 2006 Hallmark TV movie. “The Great Santini” earned Robert Duvall an Oscar nomination in 1979.
Conroy, who sold 20 million books worldwide, candidly and expansively shared details of growing up as a military brat and his anguished relationship with his abusive father, Marine aviator and military hero Donald Conroy. He also wrote of his time in military school, The Citadel in Charleston, and his struggles with his health and depression.
“The reason I write is to explain my life to myself,” Conroy said in a 1986 interview. “I’ve also discovered that when I do, I’m explaining other people’s lives to them.”
Conroy quit drinking in his mid-60s after being hospitalized with a failing liver and high blood pressure. He has struggled with diabetes and other ailments in recent years.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and can be difficult to treat. The disease claimed actors Michael Landon and Patrick Swayze, Steve Jobs, Oscar winner Joan Crawford, Donna Reed, jazz legend Dizzie Gillespie, and astronaut Sally Ride, to name a few.